Warrington Wolves are ready. They need to be ready after a 2022 season which could barely have gone any worse.
In Daryl Powell’s first season as head coach following nine successful years with Castleford Tigers, the Wolves were Betfred Super League’s biggest disappointment. They won just nine games, finished second-bottom of the table and were beaten at the first hurdle in the Betfred Challenge Cup.
After winning their opening three fixtures, they slumped to 19 defeats in the next 25 as star names such as Gareth Widdop, George Williams, Ben Currie and Stefan Ratchford failed to steer them back towards the top of the league and Powell scrambled fruitlessly to find answers.
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But in 2023 there’s a new look to the Wire. Out have gone Widdop, Jack Hughes, Jason Clark and Toby King among others. Josh McGuire has been added from St George-Illawarra Dragons in a high-profile move with Matt Dufty ready for his first full season after joining midway through ’22 from Canterbury Bulldogs, while Sam Kasiano, Gil Dudson and Josh Drinkwater have been brought in en masse from Catalans Dragons.
And in Paul Vaughan, they’ve signed a player with a stack of NRL experience and a thirst to hit the ground running in 2023 after the Wolves’ underperformance last year.
“Myself and the family found out maybe about halfway through the season last year that we were going to come over, so we prepared pretty well and we’ve settled in pretty nicely,” Vaughan tells The Sportsman in an exclusive chat.
“I had a couple of mates who were playing at the Wolves last year so I was keeping tabs pretty closely, and I was playing with Dufty at the Bulldogs when he left in mid-season to come over so he was telling me a lot of information and stuff that was happening at the club. So I felt like I knew a fair bit before coming over.”
Vaughan is not just looking forward to making a big impact in Super League but is also hoping for a good run in the Betfred Challenge Cup too as he gears up for his first ever experience of senior knockout rugby league.
“That’s pretty exciting. There’s nothing quite like that back home in Australia, but this year is going to be [full of] a lot of new experiences and I’m pretty excited to experience that and see what that’s all about and hopefully we can run pretty deep into that comp too.
“I think success is just winning a lot of games. Last year was a little bit under-par for the boys involved so we just want to build some strong combinations on the field and be a strong team that’s well respected and win some games and make a charge for the finals. We’ll see what we can do.”
Wolves fans will be hoping that “winning a lot of games” means they’ll be able to put the horrific memories of 2022 in the rear-view mirror.
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