Warrington Wolves’ Joe Philbin hopes ‘best years are ahead’ before testimonial year

JOE PHILBIN has plenty more still to achieve as he prepares for his testimonial year in 2024.

The Warrington Wolves prop is currently in his tenth season as a first-teamer with his hometown club, having joined at the age of 15 and debuted in 2014.

Philbin won the Challenge Cup in 2019, scoring the opening try in a Wembley victory over St Helens, while he has won international honours with Ireland, Great Britain and England.

But further major silverware has eluded the 28-year-old so far, coming closest to Super League success in 2018 when Warrington lost the Grand Final to Wigan Warriors.

“I’m reasonably happy with what I’ve been able to do in those ten years and hopefully there’s a lot more I can achieve in the game,” Philbin told League Express.

“There’s been a lot of good moments littered in there. I’d like to have had a few more, and with the squads that we’ve had we could maybe have achieved more over those years. But I’ve really enjoyed my career so far.

“The testimonial is only a celebration of ten years at the club. I still feel like I’m only a little bit of the way through my career to be honest. I still feel my best years are ahead of me.”

Philbin has been granted a twelve-month testimonial by the RFL, with events including a pre-season match to be announced in due course.

He has selected the Warrington Wolves Foundation, the MND Association, the British Heart Foundation, and Room at the Inn and the Y Project Warrington as his charities.

“I’m enormously proud to be granted my testimonial. I think ten years at any club is an achievement but ten years at your hometown club is really special to me,” added Philbin.

“I came to the club as a boy and I’ve grown into a man. I’ve learned a lot of life lessons and been taught by a lot of good people at Warrington.”

Philbin believes he is coming into good form again after starting the year in recovery from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury suffered last June.

He said: “I’d been fine for the last five or six years (avoiding injuries). When I heard my knee crack I thought ‘oh god, here we go’. 

“But I suppose luck had been on my side for quite a long time. Something had to give, and it was my knee. 

“I feel like the rehab process was pretty good for me. I’d played a lot of rugby the past five or six years and your body gets battered playing 30-odd games a year, so it gave me a chance to rest the body up and strengthen some weaker areas of my body.

“I feel the last few weeks I’ve been getting back to my best rugby. My focus is the same as the team’s, to keep building towards the back end of the season and build my form and the team’s form.”