JOE Philbin feels there is “another level” of his game that he can reach through playing longer stints for The Wire.

The former Culcheth Eagles and Latchford Albion junior has been used exclusively off the bench by Steve Price in 2018 and is often used as the team’s first interchange.

Having broken into the first-team picture initially as a second-rower, the past two seasons has seen Philbin impress with his impact as a prop forward.

The 23-year-old says he aspires to have as much influence on the team as regular front-row starters Chris Hill and Mike Cooper currently do but says he is “cruising along nicely.”

“I’m really happy with the game time I’m getting,” he said.

“I still feel like there is another level I can go to, but I’m cruising along nicely.

“It is always better when you’re part of a winning team. You train and play with a smile on your face and it brings out the best in you.

“I’d like to think my role is to bring more impact to the team. That’s what I try to do and I do my best week in, week out.

“If that’s what it takes for me to help the team, so be it.

“I want to become a front-rower who can play for big minutes. That’s what I aspire to be.

“If you look at the likes of Chris Hill and Mike Cooper here, they are international front-rowers and I want to be like them.

“They play for long minutes week in, week out and do it tough. That’s how I want to play.”

Philbin has missed only one game this season and has played a big role in helping The Wire to third place in Super League.

He again featured from the bench in Saturday’s 40-26 victory over Hull KR and he says they were told about the chance to make a piece of club history before the game.

“I think we’re the first ever Warrington team to get five wins out of five in and around Easter,” he said.

“We had Paul Cullen in last week telling us the stats, and it’s pretty impressive when you think of it like that.

“We’re not really fooling ourselves though, the Hull KR game wasn’t a fantastic performance.

“It was a bit patchy and we need to start halves stronger than we did, but we’ll take the win.

“The Warrington of old would probably have lost that game, but we’re developing a real toughness here.

“Pricey’s real big on that. He wants us to be tough and resilient.”

Attention now turns to the Challenge Cup, and this weekend’s fifth-round tie holds special significance for Philbin.

The Ireland international enjoyed a successful loan spell at Saturday’s opponents Bradford Bulls in 2016 while they were still in the Championship.

The Warrington-born forward says he is looking forward to catching up with old friends in the Bulls ranks – but only after he has helped dump them out of the competition.

“We’ve got a good history with the Challenge Cup. Our fans love it and really get behind us in it,” he said.

“Playing against Bradford is exciting as I’ve had a few loan trips there. I was really happy to draw them.

“I know a lot of the lads there so it will be good to come up against them.

“I’ll catch up with them after the game, but there’s no friends while we’re playing.

“I’ll be getting stuck into them, that’s for sure!”