More ins and outs expected at Warrington

James Gordon
Oliver Holmes playing for Warrington, Huddersfield, RL Today

Picture by Ed Sykes/

Daryl Powell’s re-build at Warrington is expected to continue with more players linked with moves to the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

The Wolves were dealt a blow with the news that Jake Wardle had joined Wigan, as they were keen to sign the centre who had spent the second half of the season on loan with them from Huddersfield.

Wardle was on contract with the Giants, who had taken Toby King in reverse, but King will also be at Wigan next season having signed on loan.

It leaves Warrington short on outside backs, particularly as Connor Wrench is expected to miss the first few months of the season with an ACL injury.

But it is at half-back that the Wolves are being tipped to make a move, with the Warrington Guardian linking them to Catalans half-back Josh Drinkwater.

On the way out?

Any movement would be reliant on Warrington offloading players, with the spending spree that has seen them bring over NRL trio Matt Dufty, Paul Vaughan and Josh McGuire in recent months taking them close to the salary cap limit.

Former Castleford back-rower Oliver Holmes, who only moved to Warrington alongside Powell ahead of 2022, is known to be one player they are trying to offload.

Holmes, 30, is now being heavily linked with a switch to Leigh. The newly-promoted Centurions are reported to have already brought in Jack Hughes, Rob Mulhern and Matt Davies from the Wolves.

Young forward Ellis Longstaff spent time on loan at Hull at the back end of last season, and is being offered out again.

Out of contract prop Eribe Doro, who spent last season out on loan at Widnes, had attracted enquiries from Castleford and Hull but is remaining in the Championship with Halifax.

As well as their NRL signings, Warrington have strengthened with the capture of Catalans duo Gil Dudson and Sam Kasiano.

They follow the mid-season recruitment of Samoan prop Thomas Mikaele and promising back-rower Matty Nicholson from Wigan.

Young Wales prop Luke Thomas and Adam Holroyd impressed when handed their first team debuts at the back end of the campaign, while half-back Leon Hayes has been getting rave reviews playing for the reserves.

Problem areas

With George Williams the club’s only recognised regular half-back, a move for Drinkwater would make sense – though would provide another obstacle not only for Hayes, but for Riley Dean.

Dean, 21, made six appearances last season and also turned out for Newcastle.

Versatile Stefan Ratchford signed a new two-year deal and will now surely become cover for full-back, behind Dufty, and the half-back positions.

Both he and Peter Mata’utia featured at stand-off at times during last season.

Mata’utia is one of only three recognised centres at the club, along with the injured Wrench and Greg Minikin, who himself only managed six games last season through injury.

Minikin featured on the wing in all six of those games, but unless the Wolves recruit, may find himself moved inside with Josh Thewlis and Matty Ashton as options on the flanks.

After finishing 11th last season, the pressure will be on for Warrington to significantly improve in 2023.

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