Oliver Holmes says his determination to win a major trophy before hanging up his boots played a big part in making the move to Warrington.
Having spent his entire career to date with hometown club Castleford, the England international second rower has joined the Wolves on a three-year deal.
The 29-year-old says that a desire to leave his comfort zone and a quest for silverware – having competed in three major finals at Castleford without success – were influencing factors in joining coach Daryl Powell in the switch to Warrington.
“There wasn’t one factor that made the decision, it was everything,” said Holmes, who has made this week’s shortlist for the League Express annual Readers’ Poll Player of the Year.
“I needed to step outside my comfort zone and challenge myself in a new team to push for silverware.
“A club like Warrington has been on the cusp of it for a few years now; they’ve got a few Challenge Cups in there, but they’ll be looking to crack that Grand Final. Hopefully that’s on the cards.
“I always said to myself that I don’t want to retire without having won a major trophy.
“I would hope I can build on last year, which was a really good one for me, and hopefully the new environment, new players and everything along with it will push me to the next level.”
Holmes is settling well in his new surroundings, even if it currently means a long car-share across the Pennines every day with team-mates Peter Mata’utia and Ellis Longstaff.
“It’s been amazing so far,” he said. “I’ve never really been in a different environment before, so I’m just getting used to the lads and the facilities. I’m trying to weave my way in and get a grip of the things going on there.
“It’s very different. For one there’s the travel, getting up at half past five in the morning is a little different to just going 15 minutes down the road.
“But a few of us are travelling over and I move there at the end of January, so it won’t be going on too long.”
Holmes expects no favours from boss Powell and he knows he’ll have to work hard to prove his worth.
“I’m not expecting to walk into any playing position,” he said. “I have to earn the respect of the lads and show them that the club has signed a player that’s going to contribute to the team and the environment and the culture.”
He’s especially looking forward to linking up with a former Tigers team-mate Daryl Clark and believes Powell could be the man to get him back to the brilliant best that was seen at Castleford.
“He’s a class hooker and I’ve played with some good hookers over the years, obviously including Paul McShane.
“Daz Clark won the Man of Steel under Powelly in 2014, so if we can get him back to that standard that would be great.”
Meanwhile, Warrington have announced that Stefan Ratchford’s testimonial will be against Wigan at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Saturday, January 29 (5.30pm).
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