HANDS up if you had written off Warrington Wolves this season!
The majority of pundits in rugby league will need to admit to such atrocity, and so will some of the club’s own supporters.
And of course they may well yet be proven right over the course of the campaign.
Only time will tell if Wolves can continue to grow the performances that put paid to St Helens and Catalan Dragons in such convincing fashion in successive weeks, but certainly there is a fresh buzz about them currently.
I said a few weeks ago that it would take tremendous effort and all the know-how of the club’s coaches and senior players to turn things around from the woeful displays on view against Bradford Bulls and Castleford Tigers.
But the difference is there for all to see.
Tony Smith and the players all pointed to time being needed to get on the right track after the stack of pre-season changes to personnel and the follow-on injuries, and there had been no signs of panic in the boardroom.
Now, with reference to Ben Westwood’s words this week that ‘everyone’s written us off’, I love the notion that Wolves are now on a mission to prove their critics wrong.
Every player and every team sets goals at the start of a season, and they may be adjusted as a year progresses if circumstances dictate.
But to have a common goal introduced that a squad can buy into at the halfway stage of a campaign can be a real driving force.
We’ve seen teams before suddenly hit into a run of form in the second half of a season – Leeds, Wigan and Saints have done it in recent years.
Why not Warrington Wolves? Touch wood, less injuries seem to be occurring, players seem to be finding their form and competition for places is hotting up.
The way the players have worked for each other and covered for each other in recent times has been impressive, and that can take a team a long way.
Clearly there’s a lot of improvement still to come and a couple of swallows don’t make a summer, but I think the message sent has been loud and clear – write off Smith’s team at your peril!