Rugby League: Morley backs Burgess NRL switch

Adrian Morley has welcomed the decision of Bradford forward George Burgess to test himself in the National Rugby League and believes more English youngsters should try their luck in Australia.

The Warrington and England prop was at times the only Englishman plying his trade in the NRL during a highly successful stint with Sydney Roosters from 2000-06 but 18-year-old Burgess, who arrived in Sydney today to join older brother Sam at the Rabbitohs, will be one of six expatriates playing their rugby league in Australia in 2011.

Gareth Ellis and Mark Flanagan are both with Wests Tigers, Gareth

Widdop is with Melbourne and Michael Worrincy has joined Penrith for the new season, while St Helens prop James Graham is expected to make the move to Australia at the end of next season.

Opinion on the subject is divided, with many fearing an exodus of talent would weaken Super League and others believing it would improve the English national team, but Morley thinks there are more positives than negatives.

"I think it's great for the development of English players," he said. "It's no secret that New Zealand as a rugby league nation becomes a lot stronger when they have players plying their trade in the NRL.

"I'm not suggesting for one minute that we send a load of English players over there but I'd like to see more younger players go over. They seem to develop a bit better over there.

"Both Sam and Gareth (Ellis) gave the rest of the England boys confidence with the way they handled it.

"I wouldn't like to see a mass exodus, where 20 or 30 players go over, because that would weaken our competition but I don't see any harm in it at all.

"It would be good for the national side and also the life experience is fantastic."

Meanwhile, Morley has made a full recovery from the ruptured bicep that cut short his England captaincy in the autumn and says the cruel injury blow has made him more hungry for the new season.

The Warrington captain stood in for injured England skipper Jamie Peacock for the Four Nations Series in Australia and New Zealand but damaged his arm in the early stages of the warm-up match against the Maoris in Auckland and missed the entire tournament after flying home to have surgery.

"It was pretty heart-breaking at the time but these things happen in the sport that we play," he said.

"It was probably the proudest moment of my career and to last just five minutes of the warm-up game was tough to take.

"It was particularly bad timing but I got to spend a bit of time with the family and it's actually made me a bit keener to get out there in the new season.

"It's given me a bit more drive for next year. I'm looking forward to next year now."

Morley, 33, who was succeeded as England captain for the Four Nations by James Graham, is keen to continue his international career and, with Peacock likely to be sidelined until May following a knee re-construction, could be asked to lead England against France in June.

The former Leeds second rower, who won his first Great Britain cap in 1996, is relaxed about the captaincy but is adamant that he has no intention of retiring from the international scene.

"The captaincy was great while it lasted," he said. "It didn't last very long and I know I was made captain only because JP was injured.

"I'd love to be involved in the national team next year in whatever capacity."

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