THE Wire could not have had things much better on their training camp in Portugal.

The vast majority of their squad in full training in ideal weather conditions at world-class facilities – it really was the prime opportunity to get through some quality work.

From what I saw in my three days with the team, that is exactly what they did.

RECAP > The Portugal Diaries - Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 and Day 4

WATCH > A tour of Wire's Portuguese training base

PHOTOS > Wire's training camp in pictures

The emphasis was very much on quality rather than quantity of training – the players worked hard but they certainly were not flogged into submission.

The hard yards are done. This was all about honing and fine-tuning before the big kick-off.

Steve Price has spoken a lot during the off-season – and at the back end of 2018 – about the need for his side to evolve, especially with ball in hand, rather than rip everything up and start from scratch.


They know they fell down in attack last year and with that in mind, new structures have been put in place in an effort to maximise the dynamic talents of the likes of Blake Austin, Stefan Ratchford and Daryl Clark.

If they are given the ball cleanly in the right space, they will cause damage. That much is obvious.

However, watching it all be put together – and having it explained to me by the people who did just that – was a real eye-opener.

It was not an insight I expected but it has only served to increase excitement for the new season to roll around.

While I cannot divulge too much, there will be plenty for fans to enjoy on the field.

What struck me as well was the great camaraderie within the group. There are no cliques, everybody is comfortable within everybody else’s company.


Of course, there are different characters that you would not necessarily put together, but as Blake Austin told me, they are all united by one underlying common goal – bringing success and silverware to Warrington Wolves.

I do find myself thinking back exactly two years in writing this – it does carry a similar tone to what I wrote after returning from The Wire’s training camp in Tenerife prior to the ultimately disastrous 2017 campaign.

Whilst it’s true that everything I have detailed will count for nothing if it does not translate into results on the pitch, this year just feels different.

Even in the way I was welcomed into the group, there was a class about them.

The coaches did not need to take the time to explain what was going on to me, but they did.

The players did not need to invite me to sit with them at meal times and go out of their way to make conversation with me, but they did.

Steve Price did not need to offer me a game of table tennis, but I am glad he did – even if it did end in a pretty humbling defeat on my part.


I was made to feel like part of the team, although I am glad their courtesy did not extend to them allowing me to join in with training as I do not think I would have been able to write this column if they did!

It is natural for players to be guarded around members of the media and I almost expected it, but I was so taken aback with how comfortable they were with me being around.

I really hope the relationships built up on this trip will make for more exciting content for you, the fans. At the end of the day, that is why we work as hard as we do.

Back to the rugby now and in reflection, I am reminded of something assistant coach Andrew Henderson said out on the field in Vilamoura on my first day with the team.

The players were in the middle of a wrestling session, and it was intense. Henderson screamed at the group “win your battles, because we only want winners at this club.”

Being told in interviews how hard the players are working is all well and good, but now I have seen the resilience and determination with my own eyes.

Now it’s time to put it on the pitch…