THE start of Warrington Wolves’ Super League campaign is still 63 days away…not that we’re counting.

But what if the season started sooner?

Nathan Okell takes a look at what he feels The Wire’s team would look like if the opener against Leeds Rhinos was tomorrow…


ONE of the first names on the team sheet, 2018 was arguably Ratchford’s best to date.

He scooped up the players’ player of the year, Guardian reader’s award and the Harry Sunderland Man of the Match trophy in Warrington’s Super League Grand Final loss to Wigan.

Ratchford also made it into Wayne Bennett’s England squad, playing in the final test against the Kiwis.



ANOTHER player whose place should be safe, Lineham was instrumental in helping the Wire reach Old Trafford in 2018.

His two tries away at League Leaders’ Shield winners St Helens saw Wolves claim an unlikely scalp and earned his place in the England Knights squad for their tour of Papua New Guinea.

After a disappointing start to his Warrington career, Lineham is gradually reaching the promise expected from him after the club signed him from Hull FC in 2015.



UP there with one of The Wire’s best players in 2018 and one of the best overseas signings in recent years, Bryson Goodwin made the centre position his own, scoring 16 tries in 33 appearances.

The former Kiwi international also proved his worth with the boot, kicking 43 goals. The same is expected in 2019 from the experienced back, who turns 33 this month.



After an injury to Ryan Atkins, King stepped up in his absence and asserted his authority by taking over as first choice centre.

Even when Atkins returned at the business end of the season, Steve Price continued to select King and the youngster repaid the faith with a number of impressive displays to secure a place in the England Knights set up.

It is expected that Price will stick with King as first choice centre alongside Goodwin in 2019.



MANY were unsure whether Charnley could continue where he left off on his return to rugby league, however he proved the doubters wrong with an impressive 25 tries in 28 appearances.

The former Wigan winger scored against his old club in the Grand Final, and with a full pre-season back in rugby league under his belt, there is no reason why Charnley cannot exceed his 2018 levels and aid The Wire’s push for silverware.

A shoe-in for a starting spot.



A LOT of hope and expectation is being placed on the shoulders of Austin for next season.

The Wire’s marquee signing will be looking to bring a running and passing threat to Warrington’s attack in 2019 on the back of Tyrone Roberts return to the NRL.

Austin, who turns 28 on the eve of the season opener against Leeds, is in the prime of his career and will be looking to spearhead his side’s charge towards glory.



An experienced head who knows the competition is needed alongside NRL import Blake Austin and Brown will be performing this role for the Wire.

2019 will be Brown’s 17th year in Super League, with the 34-year-old bringing an astute kicking game and game management to compliment Austin in the halves.



HILL showed he can still match it with some of the biggest and best forwards in the world when he lined up for England against the Kiwis.

A tough, uncompromising prop and the Wolves captain, Hill is another name who picks itself in the starting line up.

At 31, Hill has a number of good seasons ahead of him in the primrose and blue and is rapidly approaching 250 appearances for the club.

Here's a chance for your child to be a Wolves mascot at Dacia Magic Weekend. Picture by Mike BodenHere's a chance for your child to be a Wolves mascot at Dacia Magic Weekend. Picture by Mike Boden


A NUMBER of fractured and dislocated ribs suffered at Anfield against New Zealand will not keep Clark from lining up for The Wire come February 2, according to Steve Price.

This is a huge boost for Wolves, with the hooker looking close to being back to his best at the end of last season.

The former Man of Steel is still one of the best in his position in Super League and will undoubtedly start the season as first choice.



LAST season’s Player of the Year winner, Cooper had an outstanding 2018 and it was puzzling to many how he was not up there with the candidates for Man of Steel or the Dream Team.

Cooper is a nailed-on starter for 2019 and if he continues where he left off this year, his partnership with Chris Hill as starting props will take some beating.

Mike Cooper. Picture by Mike BodenMike Cooper. Picture by Mike Boden


You cannot help but feel sorry for Currie, who has been plagued with two serious knee injuries in as many years.

Despite this, he is still a talented rugby league player and if all goes well, he should be lining up for The Wire against Leeds on February.

Similar to Jonny Lomax of St Helens, if Currie can get over his injury woes, there is no reason why he cannot force his way into Wayne Bennett’s England squad come the end of the season.



An impressive end of the 2018 season saw Jack Hughes earn many plaudits and resulted in him being made England Knights captain.

Already a Warrington regular at second row, Hughes will be looking to build on this to force his way into the England first team, starting with a strong performance at the Halliwell Jones in February.

Jack Hughes. Picture by Mike BodenJack Hughes. Picture by Mike Boden


A ONE-CLUB man for South Sydney Rabbitohs, Clark was so popular with opposition fans that they started a petition for him to be awarded a new contract after the club announced that he would be moving on.

Clark adds a different dimension to the forward pack and looks to be an astute signing.




AN off-season signing from rivals Widnes Vikings, Walker is touted as one of the best young hookers in Super League.

He is expected to add a burst of pace to catch out tiring defences.

At only 19 years of age, Walker is definitely a signing for the future but could play a pivotal role in the present for his hometown club.



THE Tongan man-mountain had a decent 2018, but a number of niggling injuries prevented him from reaching the heights of his previous year at Salford.

Despite this, the Tongan international is notoriously hard to put down and is a lethal runner of the ball close to the opposition line, especially coming off the bench.



2018 was a breakthrough year for Joe Philbin. Although he has been in and around the squad for a number of years, he started to fulfil his promise, especially in the later stages which saw him crowned Rising Star at the club’s awards dinner.

Philbin will be hoping his form in 2018 and his England Knights selection will aid his progression and help him become a Wire regular next year.



The evergreen Ben Westwood will go round for what is expected to be his final time in 2019, with the Warrington stalwart looking to be rejuvenated under Price’s tutelage last season.

Westwood’s experience as the oldest player in Super League will be vital alongside younger pack-men such as Philbin and Walker and his role in the side continues to be underestimated.