WHEN rugby league returns Matt Davis believes Warrington Wolves will be well placed to make an impact.

With Super League clubs looking for a restart behind closed doors in mid-August, subject to Government and Rugby Football League approval, the campaign’s dynamic could have been changed by the suspension forced due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A season extension, likely into December, is set to include midweek matches and perhaps feature more wetter and softer grounds than the majority of players are accustomed to in a usual campaign.

Those clubs that can adapt and handle the changing circumstances best could prove to be the ones that prosper.

“There’ll be a lot of games thick and fast which will obviously make things tough,” said 23-year-old back-rower Davis, who featured in four of The Wire’s seven games before lockdown and is eager to continue catching the eye on return with his contract running out this year.

“For me personally, it could work in different ways – I could maybe get more game time and I’d have to make the most of that.

“I think if we’re going to have so many games the squad rotation is going to be massive, and we have got a really good squad.

“We’ve got some great young players who can stand up to the role, so I’m sure Pricey (head coach Steve Price) will look on them lads to jump in and do a job, and that will be expected as much as needing the starting team to be ripping in.”

With Jack Hughes expected to be available after additional groin surgery and Matty Ashton due a return after recovering from a hamstring operation, numbers available to Price should be high – while the experience gained from dipping in and out of the first team by the likes of Josh Thewlis and Luis Johnson should put some of the young guns in good stead.

A debut is awaited for former Penrith Panthers prop Leilani Latu, fiery academy product Eribe Doro while reserves skipper Kyle Shelford has been kept on the books too despite the scrapping of the second-team competition for this year.

“There’s certainly teams that will do it tough from not having as many bodies, but motivational wise that can do different things to teams,” said the former London Broncos man, a member of Wolves’ Challenge Cup winning side last August and now in his second season at The Halliwell Jones Stadium.

“When we do get back playing if we are playing two to three times per week, teams will be motivated no matter what.

“For us, it would be good for our young boys to get a chance and we’ve also got players coming into their better seasons, like myself at 23. We’ll have to really step up with the younger lads as well, play good minutes and show up well on game day.

“And one of the main things in the period will be injury prevention, and making sure you’re on top of your rehab and all that sort of stuff.

“That’s what would keep us in good stead if we were to play so many games per week.”

While the lockdown period has prevented many challenges for elite athletes in maintaining their physical and mental fitness, Davis’ situation has worked out quite well for him – as he has training partners on hand who just happen to be his brothers and ‘best friends’.

“I’ve been back down in Leicestershire with my brothers and my family during this time,” said Davis, who hails from Nuneaton.

“I normally live in Warrington, but I came down for Mother’s Day as we had the weekend off just before we went into lockdown.

“I didn’t actually bring much stuff down with me from Warrington, I could have done with a lot more, but I moved back down just before the lockdown happened and I’ve been in Leicestershire since.

“It’s not been too bad. It certainly makes you grateful of what you have, your family around you and being able to chill out with them.

“I’ve definitely learned a few things that I probably wouldn’t have if something like this hadn’t have happened.

“I live with a couple of the boys in Warrington normally, so it would have been pretty good there and I wouldn’t have been complaining being with the boys.

“But it’s good being with my brothers, they’re my best two mates, and Sam plays his rugby at London Broncos so he’s needed to stay fit and do what’s right as well so it works well for me in that way.

“I haven’t seen much of my bothers, with Sam playing at Broncos and my youngest brother Jonno’s over at Bishop Burton College in Hull, so I rarely get to see them. Just to be back with them makes me appreciate my family.

“I’ve really missed the rugby, I’ve missed playing, but with having a bit of time off I rested the body a bit at first and then started to get into my training.

“I’m just ticking over with my training with my brothers and doing what I need to do to keep fit for when we’re back in, which is hopefully very soon.

“I’ve been mixing things up. I’ve started getting quite keen on my biking, as a lot of the boys have.

“I’ve been doing some 40-50k rides to keep the legs ticking over because I don’t have an awful lot of leg weights, so I think biking will hopefully compensate with a bit of the endurance factor for my legs.

“In terms of gym, me and my brothers have a few bits and bobs we’ve put together that we’ve been using so it’s not turned out to be too badly.

“We’ve got a bit of a garage gym going on with a rowing machine as well, so we’re managing and certainly better than some lads who have been a bit unfortunate and don’t have a lot of equipment and they’ve probably been finding it hard.”

His focus has been on his training and relaxing with his family, rather than being concerned about what the future may hold and his current contract running out at the end of the year.

“I’m not really worried about that situation," he said.

"If I keep working hard then I’m sure something will come up for me.

"I’m sure Warrington would be interested in keeping me as long as I’m training hard and playing well.

“I’m putting that to the back of my head, until it comes down to it. Main thing for me is getting back out there and impressing.”

Before the season was suspended, Davis got a run in four games off the bench and was happy to be playing again after injuries curtailed his 2019 campaign after featuring in the Challenge Cup Final triumph over Saints at Wembley in August.

As with all players, he would have liked to have featured in more of the seven games at the start of the year.

“I thought I was unlucky to miss the first game at Wigan after a pretty good pre-season and I was training really hard," he said.

“My first game was against Saints and I thought I did a good job.

“I thought I carried some pretty decent form throughout my four games. Even though we went down by a lot of points at Leeds, I thought I had a decent game and worked hard which is what I’m about.

“I would certainly liked to have played the last two games (against Castleford and Hull) but for whatever reason the team saw some change, for squad rotation and things like that, and we did start picking up in those games so I can’t really complain about it.

“I had a bit of a lay-off after the Challenge Cup Final last year so I was just happy to be out there with the boys again after having quite a long time off, so I can’t complain."