Steve Price made a very good start to his career at Warrington but was unable to bring back the holy grail – a Super League title – at the first attempt.
His squad is well equipped to have another serious tilt at it in 2019, and with it aim to end a worrying run of six consecutive defeats in finals since their last Challenge Cup win in 2012.
They were league leaders’ in 2016, and will be one of the favourites to top the table and claim an important advantage in the play-offs.
Man of Steel favourite Blake Austin will be a marked improvement on the disappointing Tyrone Roberts of last year, though the cruel injury to Kevin Brown on the eve of the season leaves Price with some questions to answer – will Dec Patton get a shot at the jersey or might Stefan Ratchford be moved in to the halves, with Jake Mamo available to deputise at the back?
Warrington’s squad oozes quality, packed with internationals and big names – and if youngsters like Harvey Livett, Joe Philbin and new signing Danny Walker can keep pushing forward, then they will be a tough team to stop.
Austin said: “I want to raise a trophy with the team, and play my part for the club.
“It was painful for the club not winning those Grand Finals but you’ve got to be on the big stage to win and hopefully we can get there again.
“The guys we’ve brought in can make a difference – Jason (Clark) has won an NRL championship.
“Our job is to win football matches for our team, so that’s pressure I’ve certainly learned to come to terms with.”
Warrington open with a mouth-watering home game with Leeds on Saturday.
Coach: Steve Price
Assistant: Andrew Henderson
Captain: Chris Hill / Jack Hughes
Key Man: Blake Austin
One to Watch: Danny Walker
Ins: Blake Austin (Canberra), Jason Clark (Souths), Matt Davis (London B), Lama Tasi (Salford), Danny Walker (Widnes), Jake Mamo (Huddersfield)
Outs: Tyrone Roberts (Gold Coast), George King (Wakefield), Mitch Brown (released), Bodene Thompson (Toronto), Dom Crosby (Leeds), Ben Pomeroy (released)
Squad: 1 Stefan Ratchford, 2 Tom Lineham, 3 Bryson Goodwin, 4 Ryan Atkins, 5 Josh Charnley, 6 Blake Austin, 7 Kevin Brown, 8 Chris Hill, 9 Daryl Clark, 10 Mike Cooper, 11 Ben Currie, 12 Jack Hughes, 13 Ben Murdoch-Masila, 14 Jason Clark, 15 Declan Patton, 16 Lama Tasi, 17 Joe Philbin, 18 Toby King, 19 Sitaleki Akauola, 20 Harvey Livett, 21 Danny Walker, 22 Jake Mamo, 23 Matt Davis, 24 Jack Johnson, 25 Luis Johnson, 26 Pat Moran, 27 Morgan Smith, 29 Eribe Doro, 30 Ellis Robson, 34 Ben Westwood