Big Jubilee Lunch

New coach excited for Warrington Wolves season opener live on Channel 4


WARRINGTON Wolves are now counting down to the start of the Super League season, live on Channel 4.

Daryl Powell’s reign as head coach starts with a trip to one of his former clubs Leeds on February 12.

The game at Headingley will be a first too for rugby league, with Super League being shown live on terrestrial TV for the very first time.

It kicks-off at 12.30pm on the Saturday afternoon for Channel 4 viewers, and supporters are already being encouraged to take advantage of a £1 travel offer to help boost the crowd for the occasion.

Five days later, Powell’s first game in charge at the Halliwell Jones Stadium will be against another of his former clubs, Castleford, who he joined the Wolves from in the off-season.

That one will be in front of the Sky Sports cameras on Thursday February 17.

It’s the beginning of a new era for Warrington under Powell and assistant Ryan Sheridan.

They promise to bring an attacking brand of rugby to town after an impressive spell at Castleford.

It will certainly be a case of looking forward not back ahead of the 2022 season, given just how the previous three seasons have now ended for Warrington.

Instead of trying to break their league title duck in Grand Finals, they’ve been bowing out of the play-offs at the first hurdle.

That will be something Powell and his squad will be desperate to change, and they are the bookies second favourites for glory, behind three-time back-to-back champions St Helens.

Squad changes

It’s been a first pre-season for England international George Williams, who was a superstar signing made mid-way through 2021 from Australian side Canberra.

His partnership with Gareth Widdop at half-back is likely to be one of the finest in the competition, backed up by the consistent Stefan Ratchford, celebrating his testimonial year, at full-back.

There are some new faces too, with Powell having brought Peter Mata’utia and Oliver Holmes from his former club in West Yorkshire, while another former Tiger in Joe Bullock has signed from Wigan.

Australian Billy Magoulias has arrived from Cronulla, though fellow new signings Greg Minikin and James Harrison are sidelined through injury for the start of the campaign.

Jack Hughes will once again captain the side.

Some question marks remain over the strength of Warrington’s pack, which has lost long servant Chris Hill to Huddersfield, as well as back-up Sitaleki Akauola.

Other departures have been from the backline, with fan favourite Jake Mamo going to Castleford and Tom Lineham and Blake Austin also exiting.

What the coach said about pre-season

Powell told the club’s official website: “The boys have been great. They’ve looked after themselves and training exceptionally well.

“We’re in a great place. The quality of the player here, they’ve picked things up pretty quickly and it’s now about stepping up the intensity and making sure everybody understands what we’re looking for.

“I’ve been so impressed with the players.

“You look at the spine of the team, the club’s in great hands.

“They’re both challenging games, Leeds are a big physical pack and it’s going to be a challenge for our pack straight off the bat start of the season. We’ve eluded to it briefly and then first home game, the fact it’s Castleford people will make more of it than I will, for me it’s just about preparing this Warrington team to face another team.

“The most exciting thing is Channel 4 and a new media boost for the game and it will be awesome, earlier kick-off and new audience hopefully.

“It’s really exciting for rugby league and pleased to be part of the first one.”

First games

The first 500 supporters booking on to the away trip to Leeds will be able to travel for £1.

Tickets are also on sale for the first home game against Castleford.

Warrington Wolves are also one of the earliest visitors to Super League now boys Toulouse, travelling to France on February 26.

They could be without a handful of players for that one, after the French government revealed it wouldn’t allow any athletes who aren’t double-vaccinated to attend stadia.

It’s unknown whether any of the Wolves squad remain unvaccinated, though other Super League clubs are reporting as many as nine of their squads would be unable to travel to France as things stand.

Squad numbers

1. Stefan Ratchford, 2. Josh Charnley, 3. Peter Mata’utia, 4. Toby King, 5. Matty Ashton, 6. Gareth Widdop, 7. George Williams, 8. Joe Philbin, 9. Daryl Clark, 10. Mike Cooper, 11. Ben Currie, 12. Oliver Holmes, 13. Jack Hughes, 14. Jason Clark, 15. Joe Bullock, 16. Danny Walker, 17. Matt Davis, 18. Billy Magoulias, 19. Robbie Mulhern, 20. James Harrison, 21. Greg Minikin, 22. Josh Thewlis, 23. Connor Wrench, 24. Ellis Longstaff, 25. Ellis Robson, 26. Rob Butler, 27. Riley Dean, 28. Eribe Doro, 29. Jacob Gannon, 30 Morgan Burgess, 31 Tom Whitehead.


About Author

Journalist and sport content specialist, who is also editor of Love Rugby League. Formerly ran the official website of the Carling Cup, as well as operating a digital services business in Warrington.

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