RYAN Atkins’ part in Warrington Wolves’ resurgence can not be underestimated.

The Wire’s leading try scorer of the Super League era was exactly what the team needed when he arrived at The Halliwell Jones Stadium from Wakefield Trinity for the 2010 season.

As he gets his Testimonial campaign celebrations in full swing, he can look back with pride on the ride he has had in primrose and blue.

Warrington, who struggled through the majority of the first seven years of Super League and escaped relegation by the skin of their teeth in 2002, were a growing force thereafter.

But as threatening as The Wire were on the right edge with world-class combinations selected from Lee Briers, Ben Westwood, Martin Gleeson, Chris Bridge, Henry Fa’afili and Chris Hicks, the left-hand side did not provide balance that the team needed.

Powerhouse Atkins, working on the outside of Louis Anderson and fellow new recruit Richie Myler, answered that equation as The Wire joined the big boys in the hunt for honours under Tony Smith for the next seven seasons.


At Ryan Atkins' signing announcement, with Richie Myler and David Solomona. Picture: Mike Boden

Leeds-born Atkins was a vital cog in the Wire sides that reached Challenge Cup Finals in 2010, 2012, 2016 and 2018, Grand Finals in 2012, 2013, 2016 and 2018, and enjoyed League Leaders’ Shield successes in 2011 and 2016.

His contribution in such a significant period in the club’s history has often been as important without the ball as it was with it.

With such explosive power and pace, he has destroyed the best of defences while carrying the ball - so much so that he has scored more tries at The Halliwell Jones Stadium than any other player, usually celebrated with the trademark sticking out of his tongue.


But also his renowned ability to deliver a quick play-the-ball or smart offload has often resulted in him laying the platform for something special to happen on the next phase of attack.

And because of his potency from any part of the field, defences started to number up on him and so calling on him as a foil provided the space for teammates to exploit, such as with a miss-out pass to his unmarked winger.

His durability, having not played less than 27 games in a campaign between 2010 and 2017, has ensured stability in a position not too easy to fill in the European game.

Atkins, 33, who married his long-term love Stevie during the off season, managed to make so many appearances each year through his ability to soldier on with injury.


Many of his seasons have ended with surgery appointments, highlighting his courage and commitment to the cause while knowing a 70 percent fit Atkins was still an important asset to the team.

Questions have been raised over his passing ability during his career, and no doubt there were decisions he made in the heat of battle that he would like the time again to do things differently.

Nevertheless, Matt King, Chris Riley, Matty Russell and Tom Lineham can all point to their most prolific try-scoring seasons coming on the left wing outside of a man whose rugby league start came later than most who make it at professional level - at high school age.

Atkins, who had started out with Bradford Bulls’ under 21s side, proved to be a strong athlete with pace to burn as he got his Super League break with Wakefield, but while he was there opposing coaches would target his inexperience in defence.


There is no doubt the passing and defensive capabilities have always been there and his consistency levels have grown year on year as he has become a more rounded player, resulting in him receiving the Warrington Wolves Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year awards at the end of the club’s difficult 2017 campaign.

At the time, then head coach Smith hailed him a ‘tremendous ambassador’ to The Wire.

“He’s developed as a person as much as he has as a player,” said Smith.

“He’s a tremendous ambassador to our club in many ways.

“Some of the stuff he does off the field is really heartfelt and deep, for both Ryan and the people that he has some influences on. He does a lot of charitable work.

“He’s developed a whole lot of aspects of being a professional sportsperson and I think he’s doing a great job.”

Last year, under new head coach Steve Price, was a tricky one for the former England international.

With the new boss wanting to field South Sydney Rabbitohs recruit Bryson Goodwin at left centre, Atkins found himself having to learn again on the right-hand side of the field.

And there he found Toby King snapping at his heels for the starting spot and missed out on the Grand Final team selection, having also missed the Challenge Cup Final through injury.

That would have stung.


It was a year in which new arrival Josh Charnley developed a tasty partnership with King during Atkins’ absences, and all of this presents the Testimonial man with a whole new challenge in 2019.

For the first time since his arrival at the club, he could go into a season not as a first-choice starter.

As an ultimate warrior, a committed competitor, his response when he does get the call from Price to do what he does best will be interesting to see unfold.


Ryan Atkins’ playing record for Warrington Wolves has reached 261 appearances and 163 tries.

Here’s the breakdown, season by season:

2010: Apps 35 Tries 15

2011: Apps 28 Tries 26

2012: Apps 32 Tries 27

2013: Apps 27 Tries 20

2014: Apps 30 Tries 19

2015: Apps 29 Tries 14

2016: Apps 31+1 Tries 17

2017: Apps 27 Tries 16

2018: Apps 21+1 Tries 9



> Atkins made his debut in a 58-0 home win against Harlequins on February 7, 2010

> He scored his first two tries five games later in a33-8 home success against Bradford Bulls


> The centre has scored hat-tricks on six occasions, two of them going on to be four-try hauls

> The 91 tries he has scored at The Halliwell Jones Stadium is a venue record


THE date for The Wire’s annual pre-season friendly against Widnes Vikings has been confirmed.

Wolves will face their neighbours in Ryan Atkins’ Testimonial game on Sunday, January 20, at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, 3pm.

This will be Warrington’s only home pre-season friendly before the 2019 campaign and has been moved from its regular slot between Christmas and New Year.

Tickets for the game will go on sale at the stadium store and warringtonwolves.com on Saturday.

"I’ve had nine fantastic years at the club and am so grateful for all of the support I have had from everyone so far, especially the Wire fans who have supported me through them," says Atkins, who is lining up a busy year of celebrations.