Warrington utility Stefan Ratchford believes the development of the Wolves’ young stars mean they will be better placed to challenge for silverware in coming years.
Players like Rhys Evans, Gene Ormsby and James Laithwaite became regulars in the Warrington side in 2014.
The Wolves overcame a slow start to make the semi-finals of both the Challenge Cup and the Super League play-offs, and Ratchford says the club can now kick on.
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“As disappointing as it was to go out early, on the other side of the coin we can take a lot of positives from this season,” he said.
“Four games into the season people were saying we wouldn’t make the play-offs, so to effectively reach the semi-finals of both competitions – and only lose in the play-offs to Wigan late on – is disappointing on the face of it, but we can take a lot of positives.
“The young lads were outstanding all year and, with the way it’s set up for those to keep developing over the next couple of years, things can be very positive indeed at Warrington.
“We’re in a great place to challenge again. The lads who’ve come in like Rhys Evans and James Laithwaite, they’ve come from barely playing to being key members of the squad.
“They’re all tied down to long-term deals too, and that’s perhaps the biggest excitement about where Warrington is. Over the next few years we’ll be challenging again, and consistently in the latter stages of both competitions.”
Ratchford is currently in Australia with the rest of the England squad, and is one of nine uncapped players on tour.
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Given his versatility throughout the season for Warrington, he admits he isn’t sure where he could potentially play – but says he does not care, as long as he gets a chance to make his England bow at some point.
“It was disappointing to miss out on the Grand Final, but I’ve had some good sessions with the boys who were knocked out a bit earlier than us to get us ready for this Four Nations tournament.
“I’ve got no idea where I’ll play; it’s the same as every week at Warrington, I’ve no idea where I’m going to line up. But just to be on the tour is a dream, because now I’m one step closer to achieving a big goal and making my England debut.”