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Phil Clarke says Super League star is “half the player he was”

Going into the 2023 Super League season, as always, some big signings were made and some have really impressed. Leeds Rhinos’ James McDonnell has gone under the radar, Hull FC’s Jake Clifford could be the league’s best number seven, former Wakefield Trinity man Tom Johnstone is flying at Catalans Dragons and Wigan Warriors’ new centres Toby King and Jake Wardle have done an excellent job.

But the stand out signing at the start of the season was Warrington Wolves’ Paul Vaughan.

On debut, he ripped Leeds Rhinos apart in Round One making metres galore and that set the tone for his first third of the season.

He was the beating heart of Warrington’s early success as they won their first eight games of the season and looked the real deal with George Williams thriving on the back of Vaughan’s brilliance.

The Wolves were riding high but lately they have hit a brick wall.

After winning eight in a row, they have only won three of their last nine games in Super League slipping from first to fourth.

Their form is indifferent and they appear to be struggling. There are a number of factors behind all of this including George Williams’ recent injury, the loss of forwards Thomas Mikaele and Josh McGuire as well as injuries to Joe Philbin and other middles.

But it is inescapable that the Wolves are a long way off where they were and Phil Clarke believes a drop off from Vaughan is partly to blame.

He stated on Sky Sports that “Paul Vaughan looks half the player he was earlier in the season.”

This is perhaps due to the work load he is having to do with so many injuries and losses in the middle.

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