Even the most demanding Warrington Wolves fans will be happy with the way the first part of the season has gone for Steve Price’s men:
Top of the Super League table after nine games, albeit on points difference; a scintillating attacking style that has seen Warrington average over 33 points scored per game; and, a sense that the team is building something special. A first top tier rugby league championship since 1955 is certainly a possibility, but by no means guaranteed.
Indeed, Price is not getting carried away just yet. He is the type of character who likes to keep his players focused and, knowing his club’s history, keeps their feet on the ground. After the 48-12 demolition of London Broncos on Friday night he told the BBC:
“It was a professional job done – nine tries to two and a really dominant display by our lads. To score the number of points we did is always pleasing. We were forced to defend our try line heavily in the opening stages. We kept turning them away and it shows what kind of team we have. The defensive work we did from the inside was fantastic. We then started to build into the game and started to play some of the stuff we are capable of doing.”
After the game, the betting odds on Warrington were cut further. They are now priced at 13/8 with 888sport to go on and win the Grand Final. Like Price, the fans will not take anything for granted. They have seen too much heartache with those four Grand Final losses in the last seven years, yet they should take heart that the bookmakers believe their team to be out in front.
St Helens remain in contention
As you might expect, St Helens are very close behind Wolves in the odds, coming in at a price of 2/1 for a first Grand Final victory since 2014. Wigan and Castleford are priced at 8/1 and 9/1 respectively, followed by Wakefield at 14/1.
Indeed, we will see a clash of the best two teams in Super League on Friday night when Wolves travel to St Helens for a top of the table clash. One would expect the winner of that game to take a lot of confidence going into the Playoffs, but there is a lot of rugby to be played between now and the end of the season, so even a loss should be taking on the chin by Price and his men.
Austin has been a key player
If Warrington are to finally shake that Grand Final hoodoo, then it might be in no small part to the efforts of Blake Austin. The Portuguese international has looked like the complete package, chipping in with nine tries, seven assists and plenty of important tackles. Crucially, Austin also seems like a dressing room leader, a character whose career has seen fans warm to him after acts of kindness. He could be the difference-maker for Wolves this season.
As it stands, however, fans should be delighted with the way things are going. The bookmakers have plenty of confidence in Wolves’ chances, now it’s just up to the team to deliver on that promise.