Joe Burgess thrilled with rookie of the year award

Wigan winger Joe Burgess says it came as a huge surprise to win the 2014 Albert Goldthorpe Rookie of the Year Medal.

The 20-year-old, who had only played two Super League games prior to 2014, enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence this season, scoring 25 tries in 27 games in all competitions.

The Rookie of the Year Award is a solid silver, inscribed medal that also carries £500 prize money and Burgess is delighted with the personal accolade.

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“It was a real surprise for me when I found out I had won,” Burgess told League Express.

“I had just landed in Dubai on the way back from Australia when my mum got in touch to tell me that I’d won it. She was over the moon and I was too, so it was great news to come home to.

“I knew about the award and that some top players, who have since gone on to have great careers, have won it in the past. I never expected I would follow them. But I am really proud that I have.

“The last year has been a bit surreal for me. Playing 20 games was a big enough achievement, but I have now won this, played in a Grand Final and gone on tour with England, so I am still trying to take it all in.

“Now that I have a bit of time off I can sit back and enjoy it all.”

Whilst disappointed that he didn’t manage to break into Steve McNamara’s England side, he knows that the experience he gained from being a member of the touring squad will stand him in good stead when the opportunity arises again.

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“I am gutted I didn’t get a game but I was still able to take a lot from being on tour and it was good to be a part of something different,” added Burgess, who is expected to join Sydney Roosters in 2016 when his Wigan contract expires.

“I am still in my first season, so there is plenty of time ahead of me and hopefully I will get an opportunity next time. Steve McNamara has already said that if I carry on doing what I am doing I will get my chance.

“While out there I saw that the atmosphere at International games is different to club games. Now I have an idea of what to expect it probably won’t be as daunting when I do get a game, and I can just go out there and try to secure a spot in the side.”