Over the last few seasons, Warrington have gradually increased their profile, expanded their fan base and improved the quality of their squad. Will 2007 be the year that all these developments come to fruition and bring success on the field?
In arguably the best half back in Super League, Lee Briers, Warrington have a world class playmaker who can take on any team in the competition. It’s just a case of finding the right payers to support him.
Michael Sullivan was signed last season to play at number 7, but from the off it was clear he was a hooker. Chris Bridge has been given the mantle this year, and much will depend on his ability to partner Briers, who must surely enhance his claims for the Great Britain squad.
A bold move under new leadership saw the purchase of Martin Gleeson a few years back. He has now been joined by another world class centre in Paul Johnson, together with one of the most feared forwards in Rugby League, Adrian Morley, and one of New Zealand’s most athletic players, Vinnie Anderson. These three signings are oozing quality. The question is can Paul Cullen get the best out of them?
On paper, from 1 to 13, Warrington have the ability to compete with the very best. But if injuries don’t go their way, and players dip out of form, have they got the quality in reserve to cover absences? And even if they do maintain a settled line up, can they achieve the consistency that has eluded them in the past two Super League campaigns?
Warrington will make the playoffs, it’s just a case of how high they can finish to enhance their post-season prospects. They’ve now got big game players in the backs, in the middle and in the pack. And with the experience gained from the 2006 run, the Wolves will be better equipped this time round.
It is time for Paul Cullen to deliver. He’s had the resources and he’s had plenty of backing from the board. He now has to deliver, otherwise he may be hunting round for a new job come the end of 2007. 2007 could be Warrington’s year, and I think that they’ll go in to the back end of the season as the team no one wants to face in the playoffs.
Prediction: 4th – much more consistent last year, and more than capable of going all the way to the Grand Final, if they stay injury free.