“It’s always their year” are the most famous words sung to the club who always flatter to deceive in the Warrington Wolves.
The Wolves have enjoyed one of their greatest decades of their history, winning the Challenge Cup three times as well as bagging two League Leaders Shield’s.
Here’s who I think have been their top players in that time…
Fullback – Stefan Ratchford
Ratchford joined in 2012 and has since made over 230 appearances for the club, scoring 1000+ points in what has been a prolific career thus far. Initially signed as a half-back, Ratchford had shoes to fill when he inherited the no.1 jersey from Brett Hodgson but has done so to great effect, with his tricky kick returns and side-step catching opposition off-guard continuously.
Wingers – Joel Monaghan & Tom Lineham
Monaghan arrived in 2011 for a five year period which was initially marred with off-field controversy. However, he was soon to silence the doubters and recorded his finest career period with the Wolves. Having scored 125 tries in 127 appearance in the Super League for the club, Monaghan was a breath of fresh air on the wing as he helped them become one of Super League’s toughest teams to beat.
The same could be said for Lineham, who had a point to prove since arriving from Hull FC. The Leeds-born flyer has made over 100 appearances, scoring over 70 tries and helping the club to a League Leaders Shield and Challenge Cup win within four years. Both proved powerful, fast and difficult players to face and will go down as two of their greatest ever players, at least in the summer era.
Centres – Ryan Atkins & Chris Bridge
Atkins appeared in over 270 games for Warrington, averaging over a try in every two games for the club, winning two Challenge Cups and just as many League Leaders Shield’s. He has effectively served the full decade with the Wolves, one of very few to do so.
As for Bridge, he proved to be an asset at the club, lasting 11 seasons before departing in 2015. He made over 200 appearances for the club in that time, scoring 853 points in Super League and winning three Challenge Cups.
Stand-off – Lee Briers
Tricky choice but how could Warrington’s greatest cult hero of the summer era not be included?Briers joined back in 1997 and with over 400 appearances and 2200 points, goes down as a club legend. He retired in 2013, after helping guide the club to two Challenge Cup wins, a top of the league finish and two Grand Final berths.
Scrum-half – Richie Myler
A controversial choice, but completing the backline is former ex-England international Richie Myler. Myler may currently be enduring a tough time at Leeds but whilst at Warrington he proved to be quite the talent. Averaging more than a try in every two appearances, he was part of their silverware winning side in 2012, owing his delicate kicking game and effective running to what made him such a danger.
Props – Chris Hill & Mike Cooper
An obvious choice for the front row in two internationals Chris Hill and Mike Cooper. Hill arrived in 2012 from rival club Leigh and made the most of his chance at the top flight, quickly becoming a first-team regular and earning international recognition. His sheer strength going forward is what makes him so potent, with his ability to draw in multiple defenders creating space for the hookers and halfbacks behind him.
The same could be said with Cooper, who returned after a spell down under and has played as though he never left. He has always possessed plenty of strength with ball in hand as well as being a solid defender.
Hooker – Daryl Clark
Arguably the most difficult choice of all but Lance Todd Trophy winner and former Man of Steel Daryl Clark is chosen. Edging out the now retired Michael Monaghan, Clark arrived in 2015 and took the Wolves’ style of play from acting half to the next level with his flamboyance and speed. Many doubted his choice to leave Castleford but Clark got going after a slow start and is now arguably the competition’s most dangerous hooker.
Second Row – Ben Currie & Ben Westwood
Currie emerged in 2012 and has been a regular since, with over 150 appearances and 70 tries, becoming of their greatest finds this decade. He earnt international recognition for both Ireland and England, owing to his adaptability and attacking presence.
Joining him is veteran Westwood, who served a total of 17 seasons for the club. Having made over 440 appearances, he proved to be quite the player, with his ferocious hit-ups and tackling capturing the imaginations of Wire fans. He also earned over 20 caps for England, demonstrating just how consistently he has performed over the years.
Loose Forward – Ben Murdoch-Masila
Completing the ‘back row of Bens’ is big Murdoch-Masila. The juggernaut joined in 2018 and has had an immediate impact, helping the club to consecutive play-off finishes, a Grand Final and back to back Challenge Cup finals. He has always been a handful for defences and even attracted attention from the NRL after recently impressing for Tonga.
Coach – Tony Smith
Australian Smith arrived at the club in 2009, guiding them away from 10th place to become contenders at the top of the table and winning silverware in the process. He possesses bags of experience and remains one of their most successful bosses to date.
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