Super League: What’s gone wrong for Warrington Wolves in 2022? | Rugby League News


Warrington have endured some tough times in 2022

Warrington have endured some tough times in 2022

Heading into Thursday’s Betfred Super League game at home to Toulouse Olympique, live on Sky Sports, Warrington Wolves sit 10th in the table.

They are four points above the relegation place currently occupied by their Round 23 opponents and a 32-6 defeat away to Wigan Warriors last week means they have now won just two of their last 12 matches.

This was not how 2022 was supposed to be for the Wolves. A star-studded squad headed up by a man regarded as one of the best coaches in the competition in Daryl Powell was expected to challenge for a long-sought Super League Grand Final win.

Instead, Warrington find themselves six points adrift of the play-off places and in danger of being drawn into the relegation battle with four games of the regular season to go. The question is though, what has gone wrong for the club this year?

Brown: They’re mentally broken

One of the most damning statistics for Warrington this year has been that they did not concede more than 30 points in a game during 2021 yet have done so 10 times this year and lost all of those matches in the process.

They have been particularly prone to conceding tries in the final quarter of matches too and former Wolves half-back Kevin Brown sees that as a sign the team are feeling the burden of the expectation which has been placed on them this year.

Brown, who spent three seasons at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, believes problems finding the right combination in the halves plus England international George Williams not playing at his instinctive best are behind their woes too.

Former Warrington player Kevin Brown gave his views on why his former side are struggling

Former Warrington player Kevin Brown gave his views on why his former side are struggling

“First of all, I think they’re mentally broken,” Brown told Sky Sports as a guest pundit during the defeat to Wigan. “The expectation has been a burden all year.

“They’re looking for a magic formula. They’ve not found that in the halves; they’ve moved Stefan Ratchford there, Peter Mata’utia has played there. George Williams, for me he plays on instinct.

“I remember [former Huddersfield Giants head coach] Nathan Brown telling me, it’s not when you do a bad pass or a bad that affects the team it’s when you drop out of the game, and I think he’s not playing his instinct.

“He’s thinking too much about it, he’s taking too long, and I’ve thought it about this Warrington side all year – I don’t think they’ve got a big enough and strong enough pack to have the firepower to go after people down the middle.”

Warrington Wolves vs Toulouse

August 11, 2022, 7:30pm

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JJB: It’s a multitude of reasons

The Wolves have not been helped by injuries, especially one which saw full-back or half-back Gareth Widdop expected to be ruled out for the remainder of the campaign with a shoulder injury suffered while scoring a try in the Magic Weekend victory over Catalans Dragons.

Having to replace off-season signing Billy Magoulias, who returned to Australia for compassionate reasons in June, prolific try-scorer Josh Charnley and England international prop Mike Cooper to Wigan mid-season has not helped matters either.

Former Leeds Rhinos player and now assistant coach Jamie Jones-Buchanan, whose team beat Warrington 40-4 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium at the start of June, believes it is difficult to pinpoint a single reason for their troubles.

“We’ve looked at that squad [at the start of the season] and said ‘look at all the stars on offer there’ and a great coach in Daryl Powell who has won coach of the year multiple times, he’ll pull that together and create a hybrid of the success he had [at Castleford Tigers],” Jones-Buchanan told Sky Sports during the defeat to Wigan.

Highlights of the Betfred Super League match between Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves.

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Highlights of the Betfred Super League match between Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves.

Highlights of the Betfred Super League match between Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves.

“It’s not manifested, it’s not come together and that’s for a multitude of reasons. It could be technical, tactical, spiritual, environmental. There are a lot of questions to be asked.”

Jones-Buchanan also baulked at suggestions the Wolves have just been plain unlucky at times too when it comes to making the most of some of the opportunities created with games still in the balance.

“I don’t believe in luck,” Jones-Buchanan said. “You make your own luck and good performances turning opportunities into points is really important for any team.”

Powell: Some unfair criticism

For his part, head coach Powell has repeatedly defended his squad and could not have been happier with the work-rate shown by his side in the derby loss away to Wigan.

Warrington head coach Daryl Powell reflects on a disappointing defeat to Wigan in the Befred Superleague.

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Warrington head coach Daryl Powell reflects on a disappointing defeat to Wigan in the Befred Superleague.

Warrington head coach Daryl Powell reflects on a disappointing defeat to Wigan in the Befred Superleague.

It was another difficult night for the Wolves’ travelling fans as well, although the Warrington boss was full of praise for the way they stuck behind the team.

His focus is now on ensuring they get back to winning ways for the first time since overcoming Toulouse’s fellow French club Catalans 36-10 in Newcastle last month and took aim at what he felt was some unfair criticism of his side.

“There is a lot of rubbish being spoken at the minute, I thought the boys worked really hard [against Wigan] and battled through everything,” Powell told Sky Sports.

“I was really happy with the effort and commitment; I thought the fans really got behind the boys there and they need to keep doing that because you can see they’re really working hard.

Highlights of Warrington Wolves' 32-18 win over Toulouse Olympique in Round 3 of the Betfred Super League season.

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Highlights of Warrington Wolves’ 32-18 win over Toulouse Olympique in Round 3 of the Betfred Super League season.

Highlights of Warrington Wolves’ 32-18 win over Toulouse Olympique in Round 3 of the Betfred Super League season.

“We just need to win the game [against Toulouse]. I think there is some unfair criticism; we’re in a tough spot, there is some criticism which is fair, but we’re looking to the future and building something special.”

Named squads

Warrington Wolves: Kyle Amor, Matty Ashton, Joe Bullock, Daryl Clark, Jason Clark, Ben Currie, Matt Davis, Matt Dufty, James Harrison, Oliver Holmes, Peter Mata’utia, Tom Mikaele, Greg Minikin, Robbie Mulhern, Matty Nicholson, Stefan Ratchford, Josh Thewlis, Danny Walker, Jake Wardle, George Williams, Connor Wrench.

Toulouse Olympique: Latrell Schaumkel, Mathieu Jussaume, Paul Marcon, Corey Norman, Lucas Albert, Romain Navarrette, Harrison Hansen, Dominique Peyroux, Anthony Marion, Eloi Pelissier, Maxime Puech, Joe Bretherton, Chris Hankinson, Justin Sangare, Matty Russell, Olly Ashall-Bott, Nathan Peats, Lambert Belmas, Maxime Stefani, Tony Gigot, Daniel Alvaro.

Watch Warrington Wolves take on Toulouse Olympique in an all-important Betfred Super League showdown live on Sky Sports Arena from 7.30pm on Thursday (8pm kick-off).





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