Daryl Powell happy with players’ pick as Warrington Wolves leaders

WARRINGTON WOLVES coach Daryl Powell says there’s a “great feel” among his new-look squad as the countdown to a crunch campaign continues following a training trip to Portugal.

It’s the second season at the helm for the former Castleford team chief, who is under pressure to come up with the goods.

The Wolves directors had hoped that Powell’s appointment would ignite a genuine title challenge after defeat at the first stage of the play-offs under Steve Price in 2021.

But instead Warrington ended up second-bottom, with expectations of a big improvement raised by a reshaping of the playing pool, particularly in the pack.

Australia-capped forwards Paul Vaughan (from Canterbury Bulldogs) and Josh McGuire (St George Illawarra Dragons) are on board.

And a trio who played central roles in Catalans Dragons finishing fourth last year – props Gil Dudson and Sam Kasiano along with halfback Josh Drinkwater – have also been signed.

McGuire, who has also represented Samoa and played State of Origin for Queensland, is among the recently-announced new leadership group.

Picked by the players themselves, it also includes long-serving back Stefan Ratchford, who is going into his twelfth campaign with Warrington after starting at Salford, centre Peter Mata’utia, who followed Powell from Castleford ahead of last season, and England halfback George Williams, whose partnership with Drinkwater will be the key to Warrington’s hopes.

Ratchford is being tipped to take on the captaincy following Jack Hughes’ switch to Leigh.

“The leadership group is strong, and those are the players I would have picked myself,” said Powell, whose side host Leigh in forward Ben Currie’s testimonial match on Saturday week, February 4 (5.30pm).

Speaking the Warrington Guardian, Powell continued: “They’re prepared to say what needs to be said, to disagree with me and my staff if needs be and to have strong debates.

“We’re all in it together. We all want the same thing, to be successful, and a strong leadership group is a big part of that.”