Three rounds in is early to be calling a game a must win, but Warrington’s next game away at Widnes is one of importance early in the reign of Steve Price.
Back-to-back defeats against Leeds and Huddersfield is not the start the former Cronulla coach would have wanted, and it has been the manner of those defeats that has been most alarming, with the Wolves looking particularly off the pace.
They have managed to score just three tries in those two games, and one of those was gifted to Tom Lineham but the unfortunate Jack Walker towards the end of the Leeds game, which the Rhinos won in a more comfortable manner than the final scoreline suggests.
While the top eight big hitters are either off attempting to become World Champions, playing matches in Australia or having a week off, Warrington have a reminder of their failings of last season with a trip to Widnes.
A defeat against last season’s basement boys will set the alarm bells ringing.
Against Huddersfield, save for the early score by Lineham, they were toothless in attack and didn’t even get close to scoring in the second half.
There were early murmurings of discontent from the travelling faithful, looking for a bonus code perhaps, with a few boos heard at the final hooter, such was the lack of performance in just the second game of the season.
Marquee signing Tyrone Roberts, who didn’t look match fit last week despite his best efforts against Leeds, sat out the defeat to Huddersfield and is a doubt for the Widnes match, with more pressure on the shoulders of Kevin Brown, who has done well in his appearances against the Vikings since making the switch between the two clubs.
The positive for Price and his team has to be their goal-line defence. Despite two lacklustre performances, they have only shipped six tries across the two matches, with four of those coming off kicks.
An average defeat of nine points per game when things can only really get better isn’t the end of the world, though fans will be desperate for a win against their derby rivals, not just for local bragging rights, but to provide some assurance that a repeat of 2017 isn’t ahead.
On their mission to become the “biggest club in rugby league” over the past few years, the Wolves have lost the chief executive that triggered the campaign, parted company with their long-serving coach and gone backwards on the pitch.
Off it, are they the Wolves or the Wire? At the moment wherever you look, Warrington seem unsure about themselves.
Off the field will take care of itself over time, but they need to find their feet on the pitch again – and fast.