Breaking down Warrington Wolves’ strong Super League start and comparing to recent years

Aaron Bower
Sam Burgess Warrington Wolves Alamy

Warrington Wolves head coach Sam Burgess (Alamy)

Five games in, four wins secured. Warrington Wolves have been here before – very recently, in fact – but the early signs look extremely promising under Sam Burgess.

Of course, a good start is exactly that: a start, and nothing more. Last year’s collapse post-Easter at the Wire under Daryl Powell showed that a promising opening few games can quickly dissipate into an underwhelming season.

But how does Burgess’ Warrington stack up to last year and, in fact, to previous years gone by? We’ve took a deep dive into the data – and picked out a few talking points, too.


Of course, the one thing that truly dictates how good a start is are the results – and it’s been near-perfect so far. The only blot on Burgess’ copy card thus far is that opening weekend defeat in the south of France against Catalans Dragons, with four consecutive victories since then.

Only twice in the last decade have the Wolves had a better start results-wise: last year and in 2016, when they won their opening five matches:

2023: 5 wins from 5
2022: 3 wins from 5
2021: 3 wins from 5
2020: 2 wins from 5
2019: 4 wins from 5
2018: 1 wins from 5
2017: 0 wins from 5
2016: 5 wins from 5
2015: 4 wins from 5

However, there is much more data to dive into than simply wins and losses.


No team in Super League has scored more points in the opening five rounds of the new season than Warrington’s total of 156, which works out at roughly an average of 31 per game. Only Wigan, who have admittedly played one game less than the Wolves, have a better points per game average – their 144 points in four games is an average of 36.

NOW READ: Power Rankings: Wigan Warriors on top, Warrington Wolves move up, St Helens bounce back

Interestingly, even last year, when they won all five games, the Wolves only scored four more points, racking up 160 in five games.

The Wolves have also scored more tries (27) and made more metres (6,919) than any other club in the competition, underlining how impressive they have been going forward this season. The Wolves have also made the most clean breaks (31) of any side in Super League in 2024 thus far.

Burgess’ ability to get the best out of individual players is perhaps evidenced with the form of Matt Dufty, who leads a variety of metrics. Dufty has made the most metres in the competition and, interestingly, also carried the ball the most.

Matt Dufty Warrington Wolves Alamy
Matt Dufty scoring a try for Warrington

He is only behind Ash Handley on tries scored too, with his six tries in five games suggesting the Wolves are finally getting the best out of the fullback. Dufty also has five assists, a tally only bettered by Marc Sneyd, Brodie Croft and Jonny Lomax.

His tries/assists total of 11 is comfortably the best in Super League.

WIRE RELATED: Stefan Ratchford and the 5 other incredible rugby league goal-kicking streaks


It is arguably in defence where Burgess has had a more considerable impact on Warrington’s fortunes, though. They have conceded just 58 points in five games – almost 20 points lower than last year’s total (76) when they had won a game more, too.

What makes that number so impressive? It is the lowest-ever points tally Warrington have conceded five games into a Super League season, just ahead of 60 in 2010, 72 in 2012 and 76 last year.

So while Burgess is getting the best out of Warrington with ball in hand, he has also made them a much more resolute unit defensively, too – something the Wolves’ key players have admitted was a key focus in pre-season.

Trust in youth

Love Rugby League has already mentioned this year how Burgess has put more of an emphasis on youth, dragging the average age of Warrington’s 17 down by almost two years from the end of last season. That is a big drop in such a short space of time.

Warrington have been criticised – often fairly – for a failure to produce their own homegrown Super League stars or give young, English talent a chance when they are spending so much money in the transfer market. But that, it seems, can no longer be levelled against them.

Nine players aged 25 or under have played at least once in Super League this season: Matty Ashton, Danny Walker, Josh Thewlis, Connor Wrench, Leon Hayes, Adam Holroyd, Max Wood, Tom Whitehead and Arron Lindop.

Hayes, Wood, Holroyd and Lindop are all 20 or under too, and aside from Lindop and Whitehead, who have played once, all of those players have featured in three or more of Warrington’s five league games.

Burgess, it seems, is fully prepared to trust in the club’s young players and so far, it is a strategy that has paid off.

RELATED: Ranking every Super League club by number of academy products fielded in 2024