BEN Westwood says moving from the outside backs to the forwards saved his career.

When he signed for The Wire in 2002, Westwood had played centre and wing for Wakefield.

After a couple of years of doing the same for Wolves, then-head coach Paul Cullen moved the Yorkshireman to the pack ahead of the 2005 campaign.

Since then, he has never looked back and, as he stands on the verge of making his 400th appearance for the club, Westwood says he would not have achieved as much as he has without switching to the forwards.

“I’d probably be playing on the wing at Swinton or somewhere like that if I wasn’t moved,” he said.

“That 2004 season was a horrible one for me personally, I was lucky enough that I still had a contract with Warrington.

“I had a real dig in pre-season for 2005 and I was put on the bench for the first game as a second rower.

“I was getting too slow to be a centre, my diet wasn’t right and I was getting too big.

“I was crying out to be thrown into the forwards and thankfully, Paul Cullen made that decision to give me a chance.

“I originally signed for Wakefield as a stand-off! That’s where I played a lot of my academy rugby.

“I quickly got moved to the centres but Dave Topliss, who was at Wakefield at the time, always said to me I’d end up in the back row because I had the aggression and stature for it.

“Funnily enough when I came here, I was moved there and that’s when my career really came alight.”

Should he play against Catalans Dragons on Saturday, the 36-year-old will become only the second player, after Lee Briers, to make all 400 of his Warrington appearances in the Super League era.

The two of them formed a lethal right-edge combination during their peak years at the club, but nowadays Westwood is used more as an impact front-rower.

He says adjusting to playing his new role was harder than it seemed.

“I found a home in that second-row position alongside Lee Briers on that right side for seven or eight years,” he said.

“The biggest challenge for me was being 33 or 34 years of age and changing from right second row to prop and loose forward. That was a bit difficult at times.

“It was the little things that got me, like I was used to catching the ball on my left when I played right second row.

“Catching it from the other side when I switched edges felt really weird! It took some getting used to!

“Playing through the middle, I had to learn to steady my fitness to try and last as long as possible.

“I’d got used to pacing my energy but then I changed to being a bench player and felt I had to make an impact.

“I’d go all out and I was blowing very quickly!

“As you get older, you expect things to change and you have to adapt but I feel as though I’ve done that pretty well.”

During his 15-year stay at the club, Westwood has built an impenetrable rapport with the club’s fans, often appearing at supporter-organised events.

“I’ve never been one to shy away from anything when it comes to doing promos and things with the fans,” he said.

“If someone has a photo with me and it puts a smile on their face for the rest of their day, that’s brilliant for me.”

“I’d never turn things like that down, I’ll soon get forgotten about when I finish so it’s a pleasure to do all that stuff.”