Warrington coach Daryl Powell has no doubts world champions St Helens will bounce back from their ropey start to the season – but he wants to make sure it isn’t this week.
The Wolves take on the Saints in Thursday night’s televised Super League clash.
Warrington have enjoyed an impressive start to the season, sitting at the top of the table having lost just one game in 2023 so far.
St Helens, meanwhile, sit eighth in the ladder having won four, lost four following their return from Australia, where they beat NRL premiers Penrith Panthers in their own back yard.
It hasn’t been the best of starts by Saints’ standards – but they’ll soon be back to their best, according to Powell.
“They went out to Australia for three weeks and they put a lot of emphasis on that game and they did a pretty special job in winning that,” Powell acknowledged. “They’ve had a few injuries on the back of that.
“The high standard they’ve been playing at for the last four years has been incredible and at some point you’re going to have a bit of a dip.
“I watched that game last week and they still are breaking the line consistently. I think they conceded three tries from kicks last week but they’re a good side and they’ve got quality players in there.
“They are going to come back… When that is? We’ve got to make sure that’s not this week.
“They’ve got a few players out as have we and sometimes that rattles you a little bit but I think it’s more about what happened to them at the start of the year.
“I wouldn’t discount them at any point, that’s for certain.”
Daryl Powell wants a response from his players
Warrington’s first defeat of the season came at the hands of a 13-6 scoreline against rivals Wigan last Friday.
Powell says his players have responded positively to the loss this week in training, and is expecting a good response against St Helens on Thursday.
He said: “It’s obviously our first loss of the season so it has been a big effort from the boys, particularly when you think what’s happened to us from an injury perspective and suspensions.
“You are winning games and you are wanting to learn and you lose games and you are wanting to learn.
“It’s not about getting too wrapped up with winning or losing, it’s just about performing well.
“There have been some winning performances that we’ve wanted to improve on and we’ve got one here were we’ve got beaten by a team who played that particular game better than us. That’s sometimes the way it is.
“We need to improve, we know that”
“I said to the boys in review that there’ll be individual players in the group who’ll want to play better than they did the other night.
“Some of the boys weren’t quite on their standard so a key thing for that is don’t back it up. Instead, get back and play well with confidence.
“We know we’ve got an outstanding rugby league team and the best way to get back on track is against the team who won the big game (World Club Challenge) at the start of the year.
“They are an outstanding team full of outstanding players, so get back out against the best team and show how good you can be.”
Warrington will be without star prop Paul Vaughan for Thursday’s trip to St Helens, live on Sky Sports (8pm).