Warrington skipper Jack Hughes admits that Wolves coach Steve Price’s decision to leave the club at the end of this year caught their squad by surprise, but he insists the news won’t be a distraction for the Wolves.
Price announced recently he would departing at the end of the 2021 season to return to Australia with his family.
“Yeah it was a surprise, but the boys have taken it really well,” Hughes said.
“There’s not a lot of… confusion, I suppose, with Steve releasing it early. You probably don’t normally see it released this early in a season, but I completely understand why Steve’s done it.
“And for that reason we’ve not got a lot of anxiety among the boys, a lot of talk about who’s coming in next, why’s he done this, why’s he done that. We’ve still got a lot of time together before Steve departs, so the boys have taken it really well.”
Hughes believes Price’s scheduled departure won’t alter Warrington’s focus or performance.
“I think we can put it to one side,” he said.
“If you got that announcement mid-season, or at the back-end of the year, possibly you might lose a bit of trust maybe. But Steve’s laid it out on the table with his reasons and he’s been completely honest with the group.
“So there’s been no issues at all with his decision and the boys fully respect it. And we’re just going all out now to make the season success.”
Hughes, who joined the Wolves in 2016 from Huddersfield Giants, has been given the armband for 2021.
The 29-year-old takes over the captaincy from prop Chris Hill.
“It is an honour and I’m really proud of to captain a club such as Warrington,” he said.
“I completely understand the responsibility and the weight of the role. I’ll be taking it very seriously.”
Warrington finished the 2020 season in disappointing fashion, failing to reach the Super League Grand Final for the second year in a row.
According to Hughes, that’s down to the character of the team.
“It was, for the second year running, a disappointing way to finish,” he admitted.
“We feel it’s a bit of a character thing. We’ve shown in glimpses that we’ve got character to win big games, to grind big games out with that level of grit that is required.
“We’ve just not delivered it at the right end of the season for the last couple of years, so we’ve put some things into the pre-season to build that level of character and the bond that we need to deliver on that big stage.”
But the backrower is confident that after a solid pre-season the Wolves can improve this year.
“Pre-season’s going well, it’s been tough, as expected,” he said.
“It’s been long, but we’re coming to the business end now. We’ve got Chris Hill’s testimonial in a couple of weeks and things will start winding down coming into that.
“We’ve got the most out of the time so far. We had some honest, open conversations in the off-season about where we need to fix things and change things. And I think we’ve used this time well to put things right.”
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