MICHAEL Monaghan’s start-of-season skipper’s message calls for stronger defence and maintaining consistency.

Wolves have proved their scoring prowess during Tony Smith’s reign and it is felt inside the camp that the biggest improvements can come in protecting their own line.

“My message is to start the season well,” said the Australian hooker, who is sharing club captaincy duties with England back rower Ben Westwood.

“We finished last year disappointed with losing the Grand Final but I think we’ve become a really consistent team and one that is good to watch.

“We want to start the season well and look to build some momentum. We need to go for the consistency again and early on in the year when the weather’s not the best it is about the brand of football you play – not throwing the ball around without the level of razzle dazzle we’re known for.

“We have done a lot of work this pre-season on basing our game on defence this year.

“We know if we can become the best defensive team in the competition – and with having the points scoring ability in us – then we will be very hard to beat.

“So the focus at the start of the year will be to be a really tough defensive team.

“It will be a challenge. As well as the changes we’ve had in the squad, we’ve had an unusual amount of guys who had off-season surgery. I think it’s 10 to 12 players who have been in that position, so we haven’t had a full-on pre-season with everyone.

“The work we did on our training camp in Australia was good and for us it’s about trying to build each week on what we’re doing in training – getting familiarity with each other.

“We’ve got new people in key positions but it’s going to be a challenge, an exciting challenge.

“And I think it’s something for the fans to really look forward to, seeing the changing of the guard at the club and all the younger guys who have been looking for an opportunity in recent years are now going to get that.”

Wolves’ first Super League game is at home to St Helens next Thursday, kick off 8pm.