The Garry Schofield Column: Daryl Powell still has Warrington Wolves issues to sort

Friday’s meeting of Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves at the DW Stadium is an interesting one.

I’ve already said that the Wolves will be looking over their shoulders, because they aren’t completely clear of the relegation zone.

That’s not a situation many were anticipating at the start of the season, and I reckon the end of his first campaign at the Halliwell Jones Stadium can’t really come quickly enough for Daryl Powell.

He’ll have had a bit of a say on the recruits ahead of this year, given his appointment was announced so far in advance.

But you have to be in the middle of it to change things, which is what Daryl has been doing as this season progresses.

He has been slowly putting his own stamp on the club, clearing put some of the players he doesn’t see as being part of the future, like Mike Cooper, and bringing in some new ones, such as the Wests Tigers prop Thomas Mikaele and the Canterbury Bulldogs fullback Matt Dufty, who made his debut in Saturday’s 32-22 defeat at Huddersfield.

Warrington several times had the lead, but couldn’t keep it, and that’s an indication of the lack of confidence and brittleness which has undermined a serious bid for the play-offs.

Daryl must also sort out his spine, and find a way of getting the best out of George Williams, who missed the game at Huddersfield because of a migraine.

Presumably he will be back to face his old club Wigan, and you can’t help but wonder if he’d have been better going back there, rather than joining Warrington after his departure from Canberra Raiders midway through last season.

George is a serious talent, of that there’s doubt, but he doesn’t look comfortable with the pressure of being the main man at Warrington, and when he turned out for England under Shaun Wane against the Combined Nations in June, scoring a try in the 18-4 win, he looked a different player.

Daryl has a crucial close-season coming up and I expect a different Warrington to run out next year.

As for Wigan, they got back on the bicycle after their unexpected heavy defeat at Leeds by easily overpowering Hull KR, and even if his side took its foot off the pedal at one stage, Matt Peet will have been pleased with what he witnessed.

He’ll be wanting to pick things up over the final six rounds to provide momentum for the play-offs, and I think Warrington will be defeated by 22.

Elsewhere on Friday, Huddersfield host Hull aiming to build on their gritty win over Warrington. While the Black and Whites will have been boosted by their win at Toulouse, I’m going the Giants by ten.

On Sunday, I fancy St Helens to see off Castleford by 24 and Leeds, who were impressive in edging out Catalans in France, to make it three wins on the spin, by 14 against Salford at Headingley.

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