Devils de­lighted as Luke re­turns

Manchester Evening News - - SPORT - RUGBY LEAGUE By TOM BRAMWELL

SAL­FORD have con­firmed that for­ward Luke Burgess will re­join the club for the 2018 Bet­fred Su­per League sea­son.

The el­der of the four Burgess broth­ers that were part of South Syd­ney Rab­bitohs’ NRL pre­mier­ship-win­ning side in 2014, fea­tured eight times for the Red Devils af­ter join­ing on a short-term deal for the Su­per 8 Qual­i­fiers in 2016.

In­deed, the 30-year-old was one of the club’s star per­form­ers in the thrilling Mil­lion Pound Game at Hull KR, be­fore leav­ing to join Cata­lans Dragons.

“We’re de­lighted to bring Luke back to the club,” said Sal­ford head coach Ian Wat­son.

“He’s go­ing to be an­other big sign­ing for us go­ing for­ward. I’ve been keep­ing tabs on him since Luke im­pressed in his spell with us at the end of 2016 and bring­ing him back is mas­sive for us.

“Luke’s per­for­mance in the Mil­lion Pound Game stands out as his at­ti­tude to get a quick play-the-ball cre­ated our first try and en­abled us to be able to shift the point of at­tack.

“In the sec­ond half when we were low on num­bers, he played big min­utes and when there were tough car­ries to be taken Luke al­ways turned up and his de­sire in de­fence was first class.

“He gives us even more size and power to our al­ready solid pack and he adds a lot of ex­pe­ri­ence which will help the younger lads in the squad.”

Red Devils CEO Ian Blease in­di­cated the cap­ture of Burgess, which fol­lows the ar­rivals of Gavin Ben­nion, Der­rell Olpherts and Levy Nzoun­gou, does not sig­nal the end of the club’s re­cruit­ment.

“We’re de­lighted to have got this deal over the line and we are close to seal­ing an­other cou­ple of play­ers,” he ex­plained.

“Our squad is tak­ing shape ahead of next sea­son and is al­ready look­ing strong.”

Mean­while, Liam Bent has signed a per­ma­nent deal with Old­ham fol­low­ing his re­lease from Sal­ford.

The 20-year-old for­ward made 17 ap­pear­ances dur­ing a loan spell with Roughyeds last sea­son and the re­cently-rel­e­gated club moved quickly to bring him into the fold on a per­ma­nent ba­sis de­spite plenty of in­ter­est from else­where.

“When Sal­ford re­leased him we were anx­ious to sign him be­fore any­body else did,” said head coach Scott Nay­lor.

“He showed in his 17 games for us last sea­son that he was more than ca­pa­ble at Cham­pi­onship level and he was only 19.

“Ex­tremely pro­fes­sional in ev­ery­thing he does, he’s un­be­liev­able in train­ing and he’s metic­u­lous in things like look­ing af­ter him­self and get­ting the right diet.

“He’s a per­fect match for the sort of squad we’re build­ing here.”

Else­where, Sal­ford have con­firmed they will host lo­cal ri­vals Swin­ton Lions in their first pre-sea­son friendly of 2018, at the AJ Bell Sta­dium on Jan­uary 14.

Luke Burgess is set to re­join Sal­ford

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