When Warrington announced the signing of Gareth Widdop for 2020, many believed they’d be unstoppable with him and Blake Austin in the halves.
However, things didn’t quite work in 2020 as the two linked up and the Wolves made a play for George Williams when he became available prompting Austin to join Leeds for 2023 and Widdop and Williams were set to become Warrington’s halfbacks moving forward – a mouthwatering combination to say the least but the Wolves are again set for change in the role with Gareth Widdop set to leave with him expected to join Castleford for 2023.
This leaves a gap in the Wolves’ number six jersey which has mostly been filled by Stefan Ratchford this season season with the versatile pivot signing a new deal whilst Matt Dufty took his fullback spoke after arriving from Canterbury.
However, Riley Dean has played brilliantly when given the opportunity to do so in the halves scoring a try in the defeat to Leeds on Friday night and after the game Daryl Powell spoke very positively about the halfback noting he’s one of the options for Warrington moving forward whilst also praising young Leon Hayes: “He’s one of the options. We had Leon Hayes with us as well today and he’s a player who’s got a lot of potential. He’s probably the best at our club at controlling a game. I’ve seen what he can do with the academy.
“There’s some real options there, Stef Ratchford has signed for two years and Riley has some class about him. There’s some things he needs to keep improving. He just needs to keep going, he’s a young half. A young half just needs to grow his craft.”
He expanded on Hayes noting that he warmed up with the team ahead of the Leeds game believing he will be a great organiser moving forward: “He’s one of the options, he was with us today and he warmed up because I wanted him to experience that because this is one of the best places to come. It’s a class environment and there’s a lot of fans here and the atmosphere was class.
“I was pleased he got a sense of that. He’s somebody I believe who can step up. He’s a tough kid, he’s not the biggest but he has got some control of the game which is something that is needed massively in Super League.”