It is a measure of the level of expectation at Warrington that Ryan Atkins believes the Wolves are exactly where they should be.
The centre admits while it has been great to be in the running for the first two trophies this season – winning one and losing one – it is no less than what a club like Warrington should be targeting.
They are 80 minutes away from the Grand Final and know victory against St Helens tonight will take them back to Old Trafford for the first time in three years: but the centre told TotalRL that he feels this Warrington squad is the most talented he’s played in: which gives him confidence they can finally win the big one for the first time this year.
“Every team sets the goal to lift the Grand Final trophy; we know it’s going to be a tough ask but this is the best squad I’ve been involved in at Warrington,” he says.
“I think we’ve got a great chance so long as we play to our potential.
“We should be up there fighting for these trophies and playing in the big games; that’s not disrespectful but we’ve got everything in this squad, and it’s showing. We made the cup final and won the League Leader’s Shield, so we’re where we deserve to be.”
Atkins also admits he has not given any thought about a potential call-up for England this year. By his own admission, the centre says 2016 has been one of his best campaigns to date – but says he feels his time has gone when it comes to the international set-up.
“I don’t give any thought to England,” he admits.
“We’ve got some great young English centres and I think my time may have passed now. I’m just concentrating on Warrington and getting some more silverware.
“I’ve not got long left as a player now so to get that one win which has escaped me so far, the one at Old Trafford, is my goal.”
Atkins also insists he is honoured to have made the Super League Dream Team for a second time – but says his attention has already turned towards ending the club’s Old Trafford hoodoo.
Atkins has been to the Super League Grand Final with Warrington on two different occasions in the past, losing to Leeds and Wigan in 2012 and 2013.
And the former England international insists that he felt he always had a chance of making the Dream Team this year after what he described as one of his best seasons in years.
“I knew I was in with a chance because this has been one of my best seasons in a long time,” Atkins told TotalRL.
“In fact it’s been one of the best since I last made the Dream Team in 2012 – so hopefully I won’t have another poor few years before I get in again!
“This year has been great and it’s a great accolade to have, and the goals I set for myself was to be consistent and to be in this team you need to be consistent.
“Obviously the other thing I want from this year is to reach that stadium behind you (Old Trafford) and lift that trophy, because I’ve been there twice now and lost.”