2022 didn’t go to plan for either Warrington Wolves or Hull FC.
Both backed by rich benefactors in the shape of Simon Moran and Adam Pearson respectively, the Wolves and Black and Whites fell outside the play-offs with a major overhaul taking place ever since.
Warrington boss Daryl Powell has led a recruitment drive that has seen the likes of Josh Drinkwater, Sam Kasiano, Josh McGuire and Paul Vaughan join the club whilst Hull parted ways with former head coach Brett Hodgson, bringing in former Leeds and Hull KR man Tony Smith.
Alongside Smith, Jake Clifford, Tex Hoy, Jake Trueman, Brad Dwyer and Liam Sutcliffe all signed on the dotted line to become an Airlie Bird from 2023 onwards and all five are shrewd recruits to say the least.
Regarding the Wolves, Powell has surrounded himself with experienced players – as he did so religiously at both Featherstone and Castleford before him – whilst also helping to tie down some of the club’s most exciting young stars in Josh Thewlis and Connor Wrench.
Smith, meanwhile, has already shaped his Hull squad by allowing Jake Connor to leave – a major decision considering the now Huddersfield star was Super League’s leading man in terms of try assists in 2022.
In doing so, the veteran boss was then able to sign Clifford from the Newcastle Knights, a 24-year-old playmaker who was rated so highly as a youngster.
And with Hull’s pack boasting the likes of Chris Satae and Ligi Sao, Brad Dwyer is likely to have a field day around the ruck against tiring defensive lines.
Though Powell’s squad at Warrington is now his own, meaning he has few excuses on which to lean if things begin to go awry, Smith’s plan of action is to assess Hodgson’s side and decide where to head in terms of 2024 and beyond.
With 15 Hull stars out of contract at the end of 2023, there will be no shortage of determination on show within the Black and Whites ranks in an attempt to get a new deal.
The key to both Powell and Smith, however, is the fact that both coaches have left previous clubs in a much better state than which they found them in when first joining.
Powell turned Castleford from basement dwellers to silverware hunters whilst Smith won two Grand Finals at Leeds, three Challenge Cups at Warrington and helped Hull KR to the Challenge Cup and play-off semi-finals.
The future is bright for both Warrington and Hull, and it starts in 2023.