THIS is how Daryl Powell answered the questions put to him by the media at his first press conference as Warrington Wolves head coach.

These answers are unedited and in the order that questions were asked.

Q: Last season you were quite rightly focused on your previous club, so now are you excited that you get to talk about joining Warrington and what are your first thoughts about why you wanted to come here?

Powell: It was a long time. It was always going to be a difficult season for myself and Steve Price the way the news broke.

I focused on Castleford last year but I’m just so excited for what’s in front now. Three days into the job, with the players that is, it’s exciting looking at the potential that’s here and the quality of players.

We’ve got quite a few injuries at the moment so we’re seeing quite a lot of the mid-range players and the young players. It’s great to see the quality of the young players that are at the club and to be able to work on growing the culture and the players themselves. And to see what we can do with an exciting group of players across the board.

Q: Considering the strength of the squad in recent years and not quite the return in terms of silverware that the fans would have liked, can we start to expect that at Warrington again – some trophies might start coming back here or at least challenging at the very top level?

Powell: For me it’s about putting the cart before the horse and making sure we get everything right from a culture and playing style perspective.

Everything comes on the back of the work that you do really and I think it’s getting that work ethic absolutely spot on. Right from the start I’ve tried to set out this is what we expect from you as players, from a coaching staff and from us all as a group; this is the way we live our lives and this is the way we work.

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It’s focused on success, absolutely, but I think you have to get the foundation right and we’re working hard on the foundation. Up until Christmas there’s some real hard work that needs to be done.

I’ve been so impressed with everything at the club. The conditioners and the staff that were already at the club, I think that we’ve been able to knit the coaching staff together really quickly which has been class. I think everybody has been awesome in the way that they’ve approached the start to pre-season and now it’s just get our heads down, work exceptionally hard, earn the right to get into the season feeling really confident about ourselves and what we can deliver.

Q: How different do you think Warrington is as a challenge for you as opposed to the time you spent at Castleford?

Powell: All clubs are different. I think there’s an expectation.

I think the thing that I really worked hard to do in my previous job at Castleford was to raise the expectation. That’s exactly what I wanted to do.

I want people to believe in Warrington Wolves 100 percent. That’s what it’s all about.

So the pressures and challenges, that gets put on by the individual themselves. I want to work with the players and the culture to get ready for success and for the start of the season.

It’s a tough challenge. St Helens are the team that everyone’s shooting for at the moment. I think we’ve got everything in place to be successful. It’s about getting the foundations right, as I’ve already alluded to, and then working so hard to grow every area of what we do as a rugby league team to make sure that the expectations can be met.

Q: Do you have to temper expectations? Can people get carried away with a new coach and new players? Do you have to tell people in a nice way to be realistic?

Powell: You want people to be excited, so you don’t want to put a lid on things. Everybody goes into a season feeling great about themselves and what they can achieve.

But I think you’ve just got to earn the right by doing the work.

There is a massive expectation here and I’m not going to put a lid on that at all. I just want to make sure the players are ready for it and that’s ultimately what my job’s about – getting the players ready, getting the fans excited.

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I like talking to the fans and getting around different areas to talk to them. And they’re excited, absolutely.

But pre-season is pre-season. It’s all about getting the work done and working hard, building skill levels and building combinations – especially for a first-season coach, it’s about getting an understanding of exactly what I expect and the way I would like the game to be played, and getting buy-in from everybody.

That’s a process and it’s a process I’m working through and getting the players to believe in what you’re saying to them. And the start so far has been exceptional.

Q: You’ve done battle with Warrington plenty of times over the years, what’s impressed you most when you’ve face them?

Powell: The quality of player has always been difficult to deal with. Individually, Warrington have got an outstanding group of players. I think the job is to improve collectively as a group and make sure that they’re all singing from the same hymn sheet.

There’s a couple of areas we can really improve as we work through pre-season. But it’s an outstanding club. You come into this stadium and it’s fantastic. I walk round the training facilities in awe, it’s such a great facility. We’re making use of that straight away.

It’s a great club and the one thing I’ve been really impressed about is the people who work within the club and how driven they are to make sure that Warrington Wolves are successful.

Q: Is there anything that’s surprised you coming into the club?

Powell: Not really surprised me. Pleasantly surprised by the welcome across the town, which has been fantastic. I’ve been to a sponsors night last week and that was class. Pete Mata’utia and Oliver Holmes were there.

I think it’s just how well everything is done. It doesn’t matter if it’s on the field or off it, everything is done exceptionally well and my job, my role, my passion is to add to that – the way I like to work, my own style, and getting across the way I am as a person.

And to really get embedded into Warrington as a place. I think I’ve started that process and just want to continue on with that, get into the heads of the players which I’ve started ok and just get the best out of everybody.

I think one of the things I’ve always done well is to get the best out of individual players and if I can do that out of these quality players and then make sure that they combine collectively in an outstanding way then we’ve got a fair team on our hands.

Q: How’s the squad looking at the moment, with having some missing with injuries?

Powell: It’s a mixed bag. There’s been a fair few operations through the team, which isn’t ideal but it does give you a chance with 20 players training at the moment that you see a lot of the younger players. You see them with a little bit more space.

Normally you’d have 30 to 32 players training buy we’ve got 20 and you get a view on some players a little bit more, particularly the younger players. And of those guys there’s some class young players here who are showing up pretty well early on.

People like Matty Ashton and Connor Wrench. I think those guys will benefit the most out of this early part of pre-season.

Q: Matty Ashton has been given the number five shirt for 2022, do you see him primarily as a winger then because obviously he can play full-back as well?

Powell: That’s exactly where I see him. Obviously Stef Ratchford is embedded as the number one and Matty has shown he can play there. I’ve sat down with him and explained exactly where I see him.

Warrington Guardian: Matty Ashton scoring against Daryl Powell's Castleford Tigers in 2021. Picture: SWpix.comMatty Ashton scoring against Daryl Powell's Castleford Tigers in 2021. Picture:

I really like him as a player, his electric speed. He’s growing physically in stature as well. I love his attitude. As a full-back, the skill sets that are needed there, I challenged him yesterday and he just needs to be constantly working on that because if he wants to play full-back in the future – which I know he does – then those little things are so important to him.

But at this moment in time I see him as an outstanding winger. There are some bits that he needs to improve on, like every player, but I’ve been really impressed with him as a person and as a player as well.

Q: Warrington have quite an exciting spine, I bet you’re looking forward to getting your teeth stuck into that?

Powell: Ryan Sheridan (assistant coach) asked me last night what would be the 17, and I’m not going to tell you what I said, but as you go through the names of the players you get from 1 to 7 and you’re saying ‘that’s a fair team of backs, that’. And there’s some challenges from young bucks in there too.

Widdop, Williams and Ratchford, and then Clark at 9 and Danny Walker as an option, they’re great people to have in your squad. As good as anything in Super League and potentially the world of rugby league.

Q: I assume a lot of players will be hoping to impress for Warrington not only at club level but country level as well next year because a large bulk of the players will be hoping to play in the World Cup as well?

Powell: Warrington have a lot of players who play international rugby league. I’ve always been passionate about that and helping players to aspire to play for their country and to drive towards that goal.

Obviously when there’s a World Cup it’s extra special because players really want to play in those tournaments. It’s a massive tournament and to represent your country is the highest of accolades. And this is a big year for everybody.

Q: How’s life on the proper side of the hill treating you?

Powell: I’ve already been asked that, I’m not answering it. That debate between Yorkshire and Lancashire is always interesting. I thought about bringing my flag over but I’ve left it at home.

People have been class. I wouldn’t say I was apprehensive about moving over – and I haven’t fully moved over as my wife is still back in Yorkshire but I am living over here at the moment in Winwick – and it’s been great.

I have to say people have been so friendly in and around Warrington. So I’ve really enjoyed it and bumped into lots of fans who are so friendly – I mean we haven’t played a game yet mind – but it’s great.

Q: Have you got used to the accent yet?

Powell: I’m not sure that will change. Ade Gardner is a Cumbrian, and come down to Lancashire from Cumbria, and there’s no sense of a Cumbrian accent on him. He’s all Lancashire now. But I’ve not moved yet, I’m still speaking like I always did.

Q: Now you’ve started to work with the players and seen inside the club, are you seeing it in a different perspective than you did when you were on the outside?

Powell: You never really know until you get to the inner workings of a club.

It’s a big club with a lot of employees so it’s different in that respect. There’s a lot of people to get round and to remember people’s names.

I expected it to be class and it has been. The jobs that people are doing whatever department they’re in are doing a great job. The club’s led fantastically well, the training facilities are awesome, the ground’s fantastic. Everything’s in place. This is a great club to be at.

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Q: Do you feel with the facilities Warrington has got, it gives you a bit more to be able to achieve what you want to achieve as a coach?

Powell: Obviously at Castleford the facilities are not the best in Super League, but you make the best of what you’ve got and you always try to do that. Here, it’s about respecting what you’ve got and making sure you make the most of it. We’re working hard to do that. You’ve got everything that you need here and it’s about making the most of it.

Q: The spine of the team is quite settled and that could really help couldn’t it?

Powell: That helps. Every coach has his own philosophy around the way he thinks the game should be played and embedding that is going to be the big challenge.

Gaz Widdop’s not coming in until after Christmas, Stef Ratchford’s injured at the moment, so that’s going to take a little bit of time. But building the culture, the work ethic and all those foundation things, they can be put in place.

But yes, it’s an embedded spine, they know each other. We’re going to play differently to the way Warrington’s played the past few years and everybody would expect that. And my job is to make sure that’s knitted together in a really good way before the start of the season.

Q: Have you had the chance to show the players who are in training at the minute how you want them to play?

Powell: Not really, that’s just going to be a process. You can’t put all of pre-season into a short period of time. What I’ve done is explained to them this is where it all fits together, this is how we’ll piece it together. I want us to be a really skilful team and we’re going to have to work pretty hard at that. But the nuts and bolts of the way we’re going to play just takes time. And to roll it all out will take the full pre-season.

Q: Going back to life off the field, now you’re in God’s country what are the differences you’ve noticed behind the other side (Yorkshire) and God’s country?

Powell: People in the north of England in general are just class people. There’s such an honesty and truth about people in the north, whether it’s Yorkshire or Lancashire (Ed: or Cheshire). The only thing that’s different is the accent. The friendliness and the honesty is all the same.

Q: So you’re not getting dragged into is it a bread cake, is it a muffin, is it a tea cake?

Powell: It’s bread isn’t it? It’s bread.

Q: How many times has ‘Win the league’ been mentioned to you?

Powell: A lot. Every club has its own little pieces of historical rivalries that they want to get on their side. I understand that fully. Before I get to that, I want to get all the other things in place. But people are talking about it a lot and I understand it. I understand the passion of fans and they love the club and everything it stands for, and the history of the club.

And that’s why, wherever I’ve been, I’ve really tried to embed myself in that because I think it is so important that you understand fans’ perspectives and what they’re after. I understand local rivalry and what that means to people.

Q: Scrums are back next season. From your perspective, is the game better with scrums or without them?

Powell: One of my frustrations over the Covid period, and for a time before that as well, is that the game has become one dimensional. There hasn’t been as many tap penalties because there’s been ‘six agains’ and then you take the scrums out and have a turnover, the game looks the same.

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And so I think scrums will be fantastic. I absolutely believe scrums will make a big difference to the look of the game. I’d like ‘six agains’ to go, but I don’t think they will.

Q: Is there a place for ‘six agains’ in certain places?

Powell: No, I think we’re a six-tackle sport. That’s where we went to. We went away from being a continuous sport in terms of unlimited tackles. It almost looks like that again now at times.

I like the tap penalties. Say you take 10 tap penalties out of the sport because of ‘six agains’ all teams are going to stay in the middle, so you have less attractive play. If you have a tap penalty, teams kick for touch, there’s a different dynamic, teams play a certain way and try to unlock defences a different way, and I think that dynamic is an important look for the sport and I think some of that has been taken away by ‘six agains’.

Q: If you bring back penalties, does it slow the game down when we’ve had this constant theme of speeding the game up?

Powell: I don’t think ‘six agains’ speed it up. Limit the amount of time before you kick to touch, that’ll keep it quick. I’d rather see that than ‘six again’. I’ve said this all the way through. We’re a six-tackle sport. I think they’ve taken some of that away. Scrums will change some of that but I prefer to see tap penalties and the tactical nous of teams unlocking defences as a result of those attacking opportunities.

Q: There’s been some new signings, two of them from Castleford – are they all your signings?

Powell: Absolutely, they’re all my signings. The board and Fitzy (Karl Fitzpatrick, chief executive) have been super supportive in that. I suppose getting announced early on allowed me to play a big part in recruitment – and I know I got a bit of stick for that – but 100 percent they’re my signings.