A FEW eyebrows were raised at The Halliwell Jones Stadium on Friday night, when only 8,391 supporters trotted through the turnstiles for a game being contested between clubs who could yet finish top.

And it was so quiet, with only the Wembley-bound Cas fans keeping the atmosphere alive as they got in some singing practice.

It wasn’t that long ago that averages were around the 11,500 mark, encouraging the club’s chiefs to develop two corners of the ground and take the capacity up to 15,200.

The holiday season doesn’t help, neither does the game being switched from its original schedule to Friday night at short notice for television purposes.

Add to that some apathy from the Challenge Cup semi-final loss a week earlier and Castleford naming a weakened team, leaving many to expect a Wolves walkover.

Not many Cas fans made the trip, too, due to only having two weeks to save for Wembley.

It should be noted that attendances were not great across the board at the weekend, which also happened to mark the opening of the new Premier League season and no doubt also took a few people away from rugby league.

Gates have dropped over the year, of course.

It should be taken into consideration that despite a previous drought fans can quickly become accustomed to success. So when the cabinet was empty last year and a number of established stars finished their time with the club there would have been some dwindling of the more casual support.

A continuing tough economic climate and a season that was slow to get going for a new-look Wolves squad also plays a part, in my view.

Drawing in support can be difficult with so many options available for people’s entertainment dollar.

Excitement among supporters builds with success, an entertaining brand of rugby, a few new signings to set the mouth drooling and a league system that demands the best performances from teams every week.

Hopefully all of those elements will come together for Warrington, between now and the end of next year, and we’ll see a lift in attendances and atmosphere again.