With the season opener just around the corner we look at how Warrington will go in 2018.
After a disappointing 2017 campaign, the league’s longest-serving manager, Tony Smith, paid the price and departed the club, alongside assistant Richard Agar. Now, fellow Australian Steve Price is at the helm at the Halliwell Jones, with former London Broncos head coach Andrew Henderson at his side. They will both be hoping that ‘The Wire’ can bounce back in emphatic style and make their unremarkable 2017 season a distant memory.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Tyrone Roberts (Gold Coast Titans), Mitch Brown (Leigh Centurions), Sitaleki Akauola (Penrith Panthers), Bryson Goodwin (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Ben Murdoch-Masila (Salford Red Devils), Luis Johnson (Castleford Tigers)
Brad Dwyer (Leeds Rhinos), Rhys Evans (Leigh Centurions), Kurt Gidley (Retired), Andre Savelio (Brisbane Broncos), Sam Wilde (Widnes Vikings), Joe Westerman (Toronto Wolfpack), Peta Hiku (New Zealand Warriors), Ashton Sims (Toronto Wolfpack), Will Dagger (Hull Kingston Rovers), Matty Blythe (Retired), Kevin Penny (Released), Lewis Hatton (Rochdale Hornets), Benjamin Jullien (Catalans Dragons), Ben Pomeroy (Lezignan Sangliers)
Leeds (H), Huddersfield (A), Widnes (A), Wigan (H), Hull FC (A)
WHAT TO EXPECT
The least that Wolves fans are hoping for is avoidance of the Middle Eight’s. Last season’s poor run of results meant that they had to settle for a place in the bottom four, yet despite ten wins on the bounce temporarily lifting the mood of Warrington supporters, they are very much expected to be challenging four the top three or four as opposed to scrapping at the bottom. With the signings brought in and the coaches making their stamp on the squad, it is safe to assume that Price’s men will be looking up rather than down.
One player who is very much expected to be a key component for Price and co this season is Ben Currie. A horrible injury towards the back-end of 2016 ruled him out for the majority of the 2017 campaign. The 23-year old will very much be hoping to repay the love and support shown by the Halliwell Jones faithful and kick on in 2018. Fresh off the back of a good showing at the World Cup, Currie will certainly be a vital key determining the club’s success this season.
Warrington fans are very much excited to see how Tyron Roberts and Ben Murdoch-Masila cope in 2018. 26-year old Roberts comes to a club that fully expects him to be their star man. He arrives with rave reviews from players and coaches-alike in Australia, and a pep-talk from former Wolves half-back Kurt Gidley will hopefully make him feel at home in the town. As with any overseas recruit, it remains to be seen whether he will take time to settle or hit the ground running, but once he hits his stride, he will be a huge part of all that is good at the club. In contrast, Murdoch-Masila is already an established name to Super League fans. It will be interesting to see how much his departure will affect Salford’s fortunes in 2017- without doubt, he was their star man, and his exit from the club will leave a huge hole to be filled. He arrives off the back of an incredible World Cup campaign which saw Tonga reach the semi-finals of the competition. If he can pick up where he left off in 2017, he will add some serious vigour to the Wolves pack, and really assert himself as a cult hero at the HJ.
Warrington have been handed a tough start to the season – but Price will have wanted nothing less. Opening round matches against Leeds, Hull FC and St Helens will really give an indication of how far Price’s new-look squad has come. He knows that it will be a baptism of fire coming up against the best in the league; yet if the club has serious ambitions of challenging for silverware, his side can’t afford to start the season slowly.
Top Tryscorer – Tom Lineham
Top Pointscorer – Tyrone Roberts
Club Player of the Year – Tyrone Roberts
WHERE WILL THE WIRE FINISH?