At times last year, Daryl Clark could have probably been forgiven for wondering if he’d made the right move in coming to Warrington.
The Wolves slipped at the final hurdle before the Challenge Cup final, losing to Hull KR; and in terms of the league, they were a mile away from being top-four and Old Trafford contenders.
How things can look different a year on, though.
Clark has, under the stewardship of Tony Smith, rediscovered the form which made him a Man of Steel in 2014, and helped guide Warrington to not only the Challenge Cup final, but also the League Leader’s Shield. It has been quite a 2016 to date for Clark and Warrington: and he believes this year may only be the beginning of a period of sustained success.
“The whole point of making the move and coming to a supposed ‘bigger’ club like Warrington was to compete for trophies, and it seems like a good move now,” he admits to TotalRL.
“Winning the first bit of silverware could be just the start, I genuinely believe that.”
Clark will once again be pivotal for the Wolves on Saturday night, as they aim to end their own hoodoo with a major venue as they look to win the Super League Grand Final at the third time of asking.
Clark admits he is consciously aware that a place in the club’s history is at stake – but says he’s not given any thought to achieving something no Warrington side has before just yet.
“It would be massive for the club,” he says. “They’ve spent a lot of money to try and get some silverware and some profile, so to be part of history and the one that won a Grand Final for the first time would be very special.
“I’m just going to try and enjoy the whole week. There’s a long build-up in the approach to it and I’m not sure what to expect, but I’m going to attempt to enjoy it. There’s no point worrying about it, none whatsoever. What I am going to do though is put any thoughts about winning to the back of my mind – that’s a dangerous game to play!
“Wigan are no pushover; they’re a great team and they’re in great form themselves. We’re not thinking about all that making history stuff yet, that only gets discussed if we actually do that and get over the line on Saturday night.”
But Clark does think Warrington will have one thing definitely working in their favour come Saturday – and that is the recent heartbreak of losing a final, following Wembley defeat to Hull FC earlier in the year.
“I’d like to think the pain of defeat at Wembley could be used in our favour. I don’t want to be feeling like that again, and I imagine all the other boys will be feeling the same.”
Fortunately for us all, the wait to find out whether Clark is right is not too long away now.