Warrington Wolves 2012 season preview

Tony Smith was undoubtedly disappointed after his side lost dramatically to Leeds in the play off semi final.

Warrington were expected to reach the Grand Final and face Wigan at Old Trafford. However Leeds failed to get the message, and caught the Wolves on an off day wining 26-24 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium. 

After the highly publicised pre-season in which they will face South Sydney at Redfern Oval, the Wolves have six days from when they arrive back in England to when they play Hull FC at the KC Stadium.

But the focus on the Australia pre-season is to showcase the Wolves brand. So as the commercial side of the club rapidly grows, the on-field side has to start winning Grand Finals in order to compliment that. 

Tony Smith’s men are almost there. They have a strong side with the inclusion of Trent Waterhouse and Stefan Ratchford. Smith feels that Waterhouse can replace the vacant second row spot left by Louis Anderson, while inserting the leadership qualities of Matt King. This leaves way for Chris Riley to finally grab his chance with both hands and cement a starting three quarter position.

Key man: Joel Monaghan

Being the third highest try scorer in 2011 is not something opponents should ignore. Joel, brother of team mate Michael, scored 26 tries throughout the season, two tries behind Ryan Hall and Sam Tomkins. However Monaghan’s determination and never give up attitude puts him above most wingers. His sensational diving try to touch the ball down millimetres from the touch in-goal line against Huddersfield demonstrated that the former Australian international cannot be given half a chance.

One-to-watch: Gareth O’Brien

Gareth O’Brien played two games for Warrington in the 2011 campaign. His debut was marked with a sensational try for the youngster as he tore Castleford apart as replacement for the absent Richie Myler. However O’Brien’s season was cut short when he dislocated his knee in the following game against Swinton in the Challenge Cup. But in the 97 minutes O’Brien has played in the Wolves first team, he showed he was a star of the future.

Transfers In: Trent Waterhouse (Penrith), Stefan Ratchford (Salford), Chris Hill (Leigh)

Transfers Out: Matt King (South Sydney), Louis Anderson (Catalan)

Prediction: Loss of two key players is a major blow for Smith and his squad, 2nd.

Super League Grand Final Odds: 11/4 (Joint favourites)

League Leaders Odds: 9/4 (Favourites)

Challenge Cup Odds: 11/4 (Joint favourites)

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Squad: Brett Hodgson, Chris Riley, Chris Bridge, Ryan Atkins, Joel Monaghan, Lee Briers, Richie Myler, Adrian Morley, Michael Monaghan, Garreth Carevell, Trent Waterhouse, Ben Westwood, Ben Harrison, Mickey Higham, Simon Grix, Paul Wood, Mike Cooper, Matty Blythe, Stefan Ratchford, Chris Hill, Tyrone McCarthy, Rhys Williams, Rhys Evans, Gareth O’Brien, David Solomona

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