How Burgess delivered Sarginson to Titans
The scrutiny and criticism Sam Burgess attracted in his 12-month stint with English rugby was enough to convince Dan Sarginson to reject similar offers to switch codes and instead commit himself to the Gold Coast Titans for the next two years.
The signing of Wigan Warriors star Sarginson on a two-year deal with the Titans starting from 2017 was announced on Wednesday and represents a further boost to the club ahead of their big clash with the Broncos on Friday night.
An England international who has played close to 100 games for the London Broncos and Wigan in the Super League, Sarginson was the target of not only other NRL clubs but also big English rugby union clubs.
Having grown up playing rugby union in London the 22-year-old admitted that a code switch was tempting but said the treatment of Burgess pushed him towards fulfilling his dream of playing in the NRL.
"I've always wanted to come and play in the NRL and I've played my contract out at Wigan knowing I wanted to either move to rugby union or come to play in the NRL," Sarginson told NRL.com.
"I was speaking to a few rugby union clubs before rugby league clubs really. Just a bit of light-hearted stuff seeing if they'd be keen for me to come over but with the World Cup in another four years there's more to play for in rugby league at the moment.
"Sam Burgess going over there, he was quite heavily criticised and I don't think it's probably the best time for a rugby league player to go over to rugby union, with the criticism from the fans and stuff.
"If I'm to make the move back to rugby union anyway, [going from] NRL to rugby union, they'd snap you up any day of the week. But if you're playing English rugby union I wouldn't say it would be easy to come over to the NRL."
Sam wasn't the only Burgess boy to influence Sarginson's decision to test himself in the NRL with the two-time England international also close friends with twins George and Thomas.
The trio spent two weeks together on the Gold Coast as members of England's Four Nations squad in 2014 and Sarginson said they and other English players currently in the NRL encouraged him to make the move.
"I'm good mates with George and Tom. We're in a WhatsApp group with Elliot Whitehead at Canberra Raiders as well so keep in contact with them quite a bit," said Perth-born Sarginson.
"All the English lads that play out there highly recommend coming out to the NRL.
"You see what it does to players, how it brings them on in leaps and bounds.
"Every time we're in camp, Gareth Widdop and them sort of boys always encourage you to come out and play yet in the back of my head it's always been something that I wanted to do.
"The NRL is the pinnacle of your career in rugby league. I've played for Wigan for three years now and I'd say they're probably the biggest English club and I thoroughly enjoyed my time there but I really feel like it's time for a new challenge.
"Moving to the Gold Coast and trying to prove myself in the NRL and trying to solidify myself in the England squad is just what I want to do for the next couple of years."
Of course, the change of scenery from the industrial city of Wigan to the idyllic beachside location of the Gold Coast also played its part in Sarginson's decision, the memories of his time there two years ago very fond ones.
"We had a night out [in Surfers Paradise], it was good fun to be fair," said Sarginson, with Tom Burgess serving as tour guide that week.
"It weren't the biggest one because we had quite a big game coming up but a few of the boys showed us around there and really enjoyed it. Chilling on the beach and that, it was just a great lifestyle over there.
"That was the first time I'd been there and was really impressed with the lifestyle and that around there.
"I remember thinking to myself, 'I'd like to live around here' and luckily the opportunity for me to move there has come up this year."