Rating all 23 of Steve Price’s signings as Warrington coach

The Steve Price era at Warrington has officially come to an end. He took over from Tony Smith who had awoken Super League’s sleeping giant when he arrived in 2009 delivering two League Leaders’ Shields and three Challenge Cups, but it all fell apart in 2017 so a change was made. Price had a tough job to begin with but led the Wolves to the first three major finals of his tenure winning the Cup in 2019 building towards what should have been a big 2020. But things never went that way and he now bows out with Daryl Powell taking charge in 2022. Price’s tenure was built around a number of exciting signings who looked to take the Wolves from the qualifiers in 2017 to Super League success and very nearly did. But how do his signings rate out of 10 now that his time has come to a close? Today we’re answering that question giving all of his signings a mark out of 10.

I’ve elected to leave Sitaleki Akauola out of this list as he was signed two months prior to the announcement of Steve Price as Head Coach whilst the likes of Tyrone Roberts, Bryson Goodwin and Ben Murdoch-Masila feature as they were announced within the same month – October 2017 – that Price was unveiled as the new Warrington boss.

Tyrone Roberts – 7/10

In October 2017, it was announced that Roberts had signed a three-year deal with Price’s Warrington. So, you may be wondering why he only played the one season as a Wolf. He was sought after by the NRL during the 2018 season and granted early release from his deal demonstrating the quality of the player but also the drawbacks of the signing. He very rarely stood out, but displayed definite quality guiding Warrington to both major finals. Unfortunately, despite playing at both Wembley and Old Trafford, he was unable to deliver silverware.

Ben Murdoch-Masila – 9/10

This is another signing in which the quality is best demonstrated by the fact big Ben was soon sought after by NRL clubs culminating in his departure at the end of 2020. Nonetheless, the Tongan gave three outstanding seasons to the Wolves becoming one of the league’s best and most destructive forwards on the back of making his name at Salford with a superb season at the AJ Bell. A devastating runner with an eye for a try, he was key in the early success of the Price era playing in three finals winning against St Helens at Wembley in 2019 even scoring a decisive try in the 34th minute to guide the Wire to glory.

Bryson Goodwin – 7/10

Bryson Goodwin also featured in that particular triumph on the back of Wembley and Old Trafford heartache in 2018. Goodwin’s arrival showed great ingenuity from Price and co at Warrington stealing the centre away from Leigh following their relegation at the end of 2017. He, like the others Price signed ahead of 2018, brought in definite quality spearheading a successful first two seasons for Price. That said, he also found himself poached by the NRL at the end of 2019.

Mitch Brown – 5/10

Like Goodwin, Brown was a signing completed partially because of the relegation of Leigh. But unlike Goodwin, Brown didn’t have the best time as a Wolf making only a handful of appearances for the Wire before moving on.

Luis Johnson – 6/10

This was an expensive move for an academy player. Warrington paid Castleford £45,000 to free Johnson of his existing deal and to secure him as a Warrington starlet for three years. His value was going to be in the long term and he learnt his trade out on loan in his early days with the Wire spending some time with Widnes and Hull KR. In the end, his time with Hull KR led to a permanent move as Warrington made a move for Hull KR’s Rob Mulhern. Since joining Hull KR under form Warrington boss Tony Smith, Johnson has excelled. Unfortunately for Price, we rarely saw that Johnson at the Halliwell Jones.

Josh Charnley – 8/10

One of Super League’s best ever try scorers, when his rugby union stint ended and he became available it was a very smart move from Warrington bringing in the winger who came with the promise of guaranteed tries and delivered often being a key component – along with fellow winger Tom Lineham – in firing Warrington to success. He played in the 2019 Cup Final win and scored the only Grand Final try of the Price era crossing for the Wolves in the Old Trafford defeat against his former club in 2018.

Ben Pomeroy – 5/10

This a signing which saw the Wolves add a little bit of depth to their squad through the arrival of a player with Super League experience thanks to an impressive stint with Catalans. He did little in his time under Steve Price in 2018, but added depth to the squad and was a trustworthy player to bring off the bench making seven appearances as a substitute during 2018. Ironically, he’d done more under Price’s predecessor scoring four tries in four games in 2017 under Tony Smith before moving to Lezignan Sangliers only to switch back to the Halliwell Jones in 2018.

Bodene Thompson – 6/10

He may have only played a handful of games for Warrington, but Bodene Thompson found himself named at second-row for the Wolves in the 2018 Grand Final. To be trusted in the biggest game of the season after just a few appearances shows his quality and if they’d have won this would be a story for the ages. Unfortunately, Thompson couldn’t change the result as the Wolves lost 12-4 to Wigan. But his arrival was a welcome boost on the road to Old Trafford.

Blake Austin – 8/10

This looked like being one of the greatest signings in Super League history when Blake Austin arrived at the start of 2019 and began ripping teams apart with his unique running game. He looked set to claim the Man of Steel and bridge the gap between St Helens and the rest. But injury saw his inaugural season in Super League unravel meaning he missed out on the Challenge Cup Final. He returned in time for the play-offs but appeared to be a shadow of his former self as the Wolves crashed out at the first hurdle. In 2020, he struggled to form a partnership with Gareth Widdop but continued to be a quality player. 2021 saw Widdop and Austin begin to become the league’s most effective halfback pairing until George Williams arrived putting an end to Austin’s Warrington career and culminating in a move to Leeds.

Jason Clark – 9/10

Jason Clark is an underrated player. He’s a grafter and has a good skillset for a big body. He quickly became the ideal loose-forward for Price’s team and a brilliant leader, a player that youngsters could look up to. It’s therefore no surprise that Warrington won their first major final for seven years in his first season and, despite the lack of success since, he’s constantly been quality.

Matt Davis – 8/10

In many ways, Davis is the next Clark and has learnt a lot from the Australian since they both arrived at the club in 2019. He’s had to be patient struggling to get into the side at the start of 2019 before playing in the Wembley win over St Helens. Since then, he’s continued his development peaking in 2021 with a real breakout season. He could go on to be a top Super League forward in the next few years.

Lama Tasi – 5/10

Lama Tasi had been around the block a few times playing for both St Helens and Salford before making the leap to Warrington in 2019. He only played a handful of games in a brief spell at the club but was a useful forward to call upon when needed.

Danny Walker – 8/10

Walker may have been at the club since 2019 making the move from Widnes, but the hooker is still young and has huge potential. The England Knights captain has speed to burn when he jumps out of dummy half and will have learnt a lot from Daryl Clark. In the next few years expect him to become a top number nine.

Jake Mamo – 8/10

Unfortunately for Warrington Jake Mamo’s finest year with the club will also be his last. 2021 saw Mamo peak with 16 league tries, the most in the competition barring Ken Sio’s tally at Salford. Before then, he was a bit-part player filling in for injured players or being utilised off the bench including in the 2019 Challenge Cup win. The Wolves will wish he was staying in 2022 but he heads over to Castleford with Peter Mata’utia coming the other way.

Luther Burrell – 4/10

This was a gutsy move, one worth the risk if he could be moulded into a top Super League talent after he’d shone quality in rugby union. Ultimately, however, he just couldn’t take to the 13-man game and it proved his undoing at Warrington.

Leilani Latu -4/10

This signing never really worked out as intended. He signed a two-year deal and only played a handful of games for the club, being moved out on loan to Widnes for a short spell before leaving the club by mutual consent at the start of 2021.

Gareth Widdop – 7/10

In terms of sheer quality, it’s hard to find a signing better than Gareth Widdop. However, for whatever reason his move to Warrington has yet to truly click. 2021 was a step in the right direction and at times he was truly unplayable but he’s still yet to lead Warrington to the success envisaged when he arrived. Perhaps that’ll change under Daryl Powell.

Matty Ashton – 9/10

What a signing this was. Few could’ve predicted just how good Ashton would go on to be when Price poached him from Swinton but the pacey fullback has become one of the best players to watch in the league thanks to his attacking prowess and ability to sniff out a try from nothing. The sky’s the limit for the fullback.

Keanan Brand – 5/10

Unfortunately for Brand, his time at Warrington hasn’t gone to plan just yet. With potential akin to Ashton’s, he very rarely found a way into Price’s 17 so was moved out on loan to Leigh in 2021. It remains to be seen what will happen next in Brand’s career, will he remain at Warrington or will a move away bring the best out of him.

Anthony Gelling – 5/10

This was another exciting signing for Warrington going into 2020. One of the great characters in modern Super League, an exhilarating player to watch and one who knew how to win things thanks to his time at Wigan. But he only stayed with the Wolves for one year and his time there was less than easy thanks to the pandemic. He ultimately only made a relatively small number of appearances in the Primrose and Blue before moving on.

Samy Kibula – 4/10

Another ex-Wigan player, Kibula’s arrival was another signing which saw Price look to the future as well as the present. However, in the same vein as Johnson and Brand, this move hasn’t paid off with Kibula joining Bradford next year. Perhaps he will follow in the footsteps of Johnson and prove his worth outside Warrington.

Greg Inglis – 3/10

This was a major coup and an exciting signing not just for Warrington but for Super League. Unfortunately, things went south almost immediately due to injury and even when he found a way to get fit, it was only for brief periods as more injuries would stifle his short Super League career. He made just three appearances for Warrington ultimately making this a disappointing signing but he did cross for two tries.

Rob Mulhern – 6/10

At Hull KR, Rob Mulhern was one of the most exciting props in the league. It seemed he simply needed a move to one of the top teams and he would soon become one of the best forwards in the league and a shoe-in for international selection. That didn’t happen in his first year at Warrington, but he showed glimpses of what he can do. Perhaps 2022 will see him kick on under Daryl Powell.

Rob Butler – 5/10

Another Rob Warrington brought in ahead of 2021 to bulk out the pack, he was only awarded with a handful of appearances before being allowed to join Leigh on loan. Still young at just 23, he could still develop into a brilliant forward. Whether that happens at Warrington remains to be see.

George Williams – 7/10

George Williams’ brief Warrington career can be seen as an analogy for Price’s time as Warrington boss. This was an exciting signing with plenty of promise and since his arrival he’s shown flashes of brilliance but has yet to deliver success. He’s arguably the biggest signing of Price’s period but will most likely be remembered as a Daryl Powell player especially if Powell can get the best out of the at times world class halfback in 2022 and beyond.

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