Declan Patton should be given a starting role at Warrington next season following the departure of Tyrone Roberts.
It was announced on Monday that marquee signing Tyrone Roberts will leave the Wolves at the end of the season to return to the NRL in Australia.
Immediately after the news broke, I saw a lot of posts on social media discussing who they should be in the market for, but they don’t need anyone!
They don’t need to splash the cash on a marquee singing or bring somebody over from Australia. Patton is the answer.
It’s a shame that Roberts will not see out his three-year deal with the Wolves because he has been playing some brilliant rugby recently. However, Patton has got a great chance to step up and take a starting spot.
Patton recently signed a new two-year contract with Warrington, so it is obvious that head coach Steve Price sees a lot of potential in the 23-year-old.
The half-back has already played over 50 games for his hometown club and has scored 11 tries, kicking over 80 goals.
Patton knows how to handle big occasions as well, having won the League Leaders Shield with Warrington in 2016 as well as scoring in their Grand Final defeat to Wigan in the same year.
He is a very good goal-kicker, so he could be Warrington’s permanent goal-kicker for years to come.
His in-play kicking is quality, too. He has all of the good traits that you want a half-back to have and he is only going to get better with the more game time he gets under his belt.
But he hasn’t done as much kicking as he probably would have liked this year, owing to him mainly featuring for the Wolves off the bench at hooker.
Don’t get me wrong, he is a good back-up hooker and adds a lot of zip when coming off the bench, but he is an out-and-out half-back.
Patton still has a lot of potential and he could become a standout player in Super League if he was playing the full 80 minutes near enough every week.
It just takes time. We can’t expect young players to be the finished article straight away. For example, George Williams took time to reach his potential when he was first given the number six shirt at Wigan but just look at him now – one of the best players in Super League and an England international.
Or Danny Richardson at St Helens for that matter. Justin Holbrook has given him a starting birth this season and Richardson has been, arguably, the best half-back in the competition.
Patton could certainly follow in the footsteps of Williams and Richardson. It’s fair to say that it’s a very exciting future for England with the aforementioned half-backs.
It would be great to see Patton given the vacant number seven shirt at the Wolves next season.