Daryl Powell frustrated by opposition fans saying it’s “Warrington’s year”

It’s now less than a week until the start of the Super League season as the Warrington Wolves take on Leeds Rhinos in the very first game in front of the Sky Sports cameras.

As they prepared for the new season, they beat Leigh Leopards last week and Daryl Powell was very pleased with the win over Leigh Leopards last week in Ben Currie’s testimonial.

He said on the win: “I thought when we kept hold of the ball we were pretty good. We made too many errors in the first half but even on the back of that I thought defensively we were excellent. Our middle unit with the line speed, contact and physicality was excellent. Just looking at that part of the game then I think that was top level.

“We conceded from a scrum and then a sloppy one before the half when Sam was injured. Then the second half I thought we dominated the game, our middle unit in good attacking positions was great. George Williams was fantastic, I think that combination of halves was really positive and as an overall package, in tough conditions, I thought we did a great job.

“I thought Leigh were great, they were very physical and came after us and we dealt with that really well.”

Powell also spoke about connecting to the fans in 2023:

“That’s a big focus for us. We’ve worked really hard to reconnect with fans in and around Christmas, off the field. Some of the things the boys have done in the community has been excellent. What we want to show is that we care massively about what we do and we have to prove that on the grass. We’re ready though, the boys have been ready for a while.”

Before their first Super League clash, they have a game against North Wales Crusaders and Powell spoke about his philosophy ahead of this game: “I’m excited to see them play, we saw some of those boys make their debut last year. There’s a couple of senior players in there too that I want to see, Greg Minikin and Joe Bullock who I want to see put me under pressure for team selection. You’re looking at all those young players, Leon Hayes, Adam Holroyd, Josh Lynch on the wing. There’s young players everywhere and I just want to see them play.”

Speaking of team selection, he revealed a big call he has to make on the wing:

“The decision between Josh Thewlis and Matty Russell is a really, really close one. I see Josh Thewlis as a massive player for the future of the club, whether that’s on the wing or at full-back. I want him to put pressure on matt Dufty and both wingers. I thought he played really well off he bench last week. For those guys it’s a case of show me, show me how good you can be and I know they will.”

Powell also spoke about the difficult start to the season his side face in 2023:

“We’ve got a tough start, it’s going to be a tough comp this year, teams have recruited well. Wakefield have got a new coach, Salford were awesome last year, Hull KR have got a new coach and there’s some real challenges across the comp this year.”

What should make this easier is the recruitment he has done going into the new season which he also addressed: “The challenge right of the bat was with people talking about the size of the team. We had a lot of players off contract last year and we had an opportunity to refresh the middle unit. There’s signs of that, I thought Josh was great last week, Paul Vaughan was unbelievable, Sam Kas off the bench was a massive threat and Gil Dudson I thought was really strong. If you’re just looking at that middle channel where a lot of rugby league is played then that’s where it’s won and lost. I always say forwards decide whether you win or lose a game and the backs decide by how many, that’s never changed really. Our pack has been great, you know when you look in peoples eyes and we’ve got a group of men who really care and are committed to what we want to do, and it starts with that middle unit.

He also specifically spoke about what Josh McGuire will offer him and the aggression he has however he may have a bit too much of it with McGuire facing a ban now: “His standards that he sets, his aggression levels, the way he talks and his understanding of the game. All of it is important and you want players who play on the edge as well, obviously you need to keep on the right side of that but rugby league is a tough sport. Middle unit players have to be tough and have to want to get after the opposition. That’s what rugby league is about, if you take that out of it then what have we got? We’re not football are we?”

Powell also commented on a common joke amongst rival fans who claim that it’s “always Warrington’s year.”

Powell wants to stop them saying that: “Look I want to stop opposition fans saying that, that’s a big thing for me. It’s frustrating when I hear it, we want to make sure that the fans look at us and stop opposition fans singing that. That’ll be one of my focuses this year.”

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