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Super League VI - 2001
IF you like your television soaps, you will like 'A Year in the Life of Warrington Wolves'.
We take a look back at some of the major moments that shaped a dramatic and turbulent season in the history of one of the town's major institutions the 122-year-old Warrington Wolves
Rugby League club.
There has never been a season like it, and unlike television soaps, there will never be a repeat.
When all of the Super League VI season's rollercoaster happenings are taken into consideration, the seventh place finish in the league table clinched with victory at Castleford Tigers on Sunday, September 16 was a creditable achievement for all concerned.
NOVEMBER 2000 As pre-season training continues, Brisbane and Ireland World Cup star Kevin Campion turns his back on a Wolves contract.
DECEMBER Kevin Walters, captain of Australia's Grand Final winning team Brisbane Broncos, replaces Campion as Wolves' final overseas signing and renews his glorious 1990s Broncos half back partnership with Allan Langer.
JANUARY 2001 Guardian launches 'Save Our Club' campaign. New stadium delay caused by plans being 'called-in' by the Government and a public inquiry being announced puts club at serious financial risk.
Prop Andrew Gee put through knife-attack ordeal and chased by thugs outside of Wolves' Club La Santa training camp in Lanzarote. McCurrie needed stitches in bad head cut in 'training accident' in Lanzarote.
FEBRUARY Alan Hunte returns from loan spell with Rugby Union Club Pontypridd needing knee operation.
Norman Summers steps down as chairman of Wolves' owners, Warrington Sports Holdings Ltd, stating it was in the best interests of the club to enable Warrington Borough Council to take more control in managing the way forward.
MARCH Controversial opening to start of Super League season as Wolves lose a fiery contest at Wigan. Rugby Football League director of rugby Greg McCallum talked of 'thuggery' on the pitch and described the match as 'a throwback to the 1970s'. Toa Kohe-Love and Tawera Nikau were sent off. Danny Nutley was cited for punching and, along with Kohe-Love, were suspended for two matches. RFL discussed good behaviour bonds being imposed on Wolves and Wigan.
Walters walks out on Warrington, four games into the season, and returns to Australia for 'family reasons'.
It is leaked out that a Wolves player is being investigated for having failed a drugs test.
Head coach Darryl Van de Velde rushes home to Australia after Hull match to visit his poorly mother in hospital. Wolves still looking for first league win of season.
Van de Velde returns from Australia four days before Challenge Cup semi-final against holders Bradford Bulls.
APRIL Tawera Nikau has perfectly good try ruled out when the scores were 12-12 and Wolves were on top at the start of the Challenge Cup semi-final's second half. Wolves went on to lose.
Three days later Lee Briers' brother Brian dies of cancer.
The next day Wolves hit by a second tragedy when Nikau's wife dies at home. Nikau returns home to New Zealand with his two children and may not play again. Wolves sign former player Gary Mercer.
After four defeats, Wolves gain first Super League win of the season at home to Leeds Rhinos.
Guardian first reveals Toa Kohe-Love will probably be leaving at the end of the season.
Overseas signing Steve Georgallis ruptures his Achilles' tendon in first away win at Halifax and is ruled out for the rest of the season.
Stadium petition is completed with 42,000 names and sent to public inquiry inspector as evidence in support of a new home for the Wolves and a super new community facility for the town.
MAY Nikau returns from New Zealand and is star man two days later in Wolves' defeat at Bradford.
Hooker David Highton suffers a compound fracture of his cheekbone and is sidelined for at least eight weeks.
Gee suffers recurrence of early season shoulder injury and needs reconstruction operation. He quits Wolves and goes home to Australia.
JUNE Van de Velde confirms it is his final season as Wolves' head coach.
Kohe-Love picks up ban for second time this year after needless high tackle at Salford.
Wolves sack Highton after he pleads guilty to taking a banned steroid.
Wolves advertise for applicants to replace Van de Velde as head coach at the end of the season. Chief executive Andy Gatcliffe reveals new coach is to work with Van de Velde until the end of the year.
Wolves' skipper Langer, at the age of 34, answers former coach Wayne Bennett's 'SOS' and flies down under. In a man of the match fairytale performance Alf leads Queensland to State of Origin series glory against New South Wales. Wolves defeat Halifax despite Langer's absence.
JULY Langer returns but Wolves suffer record league defeat, 70-16 at St. Helens.
Pack star Danny Nutley reveals he has signed a 2002 contract with Cronulla Sharks. Announces he might have stayed if the club had tried harder to keep him.
Wolves lose at home to London Broncos and a group of fans protest for Van de Velde to resign.
Board of directors ask Van de Velde to step aside for new coach to start alone from August 1. Van de Velde is to remain in place until then.
Wolves officials have further meeting with their choice of new coach Neil Kelly. Kelly, coach of Widnes, signs statement of intent to become Wolves' new coach. Second choice Steve Anderson is sent letter to say he has been unsuccessful. Wolves call press conference for August 1 to announce new coach.
The fact that Kelly has not signed a contract, Guardian runs 'Will it be Kelly or Anderson?' story.
Widnes win Northern Ford Premiership Grand Final and possible opportunity to join Super League. Kelly announces he is staying with Widnes.
Wolves interview Shaun Edwards, who was not in the initial seven applicants interviewed, with regards to the head coach role.
Wolves cancel press conference planned to announce new coach as no new coach is in place.
AUGUST Langer quits Wolves due to injury. Also, he had been unhappy with delayed salary payments and the board's handling of Van de Velde's departure.
Anderson, as replacement for Van de Velde, is appointed performance director of Wolves shortly before assistant coach Paul Darbyshire's prepared team defeats Super League leaders Bradford.
Kohe-Love signs for Hull FC and will be leaving at the end of the season.
Anderson throws youngsters and trialists into the Wolves line-ups.
Squad rebuilding commences for 2002 season with Sid Domic, Matty Rodwell, Lee Penny, Jerome Guisset, Dean Busby, Paul Noone and Gary Hulse signing contracts.
SEPTEMBER Anderson brings in new players Craig Weston, Matt Sturm, Tom O'Reilly, Dale Laughton Nick Fozzard, Kevin Crouthers, Leroy Rivett and Darren Burns for 2002.
Promising centre Ian Sibbit reveals he is joining Melbourne Storm in Australia and Tawera Nikau confirms he will be going home to New Zealand.
For the second time this season, Wolves suffer record defeat but this time at home. They lose 84-12 to Super League leaders Bradford Bulls.
Nikau, Kohe-Love, Nutley, Sibbit, Hunte, Martin Masella and Ian Knott play their last games for the Wolves.
Guisset breaks his ankle in final game of the season at Castleford Tigers.
Danny Nutley named as club's Super League player of the year and Guardian's player of the year. Warrington Supporters' Club and Warrington Wolf Pack members choose Lee Briers as player of the year.