ALTHOUGH Ryan Atkins is excited about his Testimonial campaign he says his primary focus is earning a place in Steve Price’s 2019 Warrington Wolves team.

And with a full pre-season of ‘slog’ under his belt, the next chance to catch his coach’s eye is in his benefit match against Widnes Vikings at The Halliwell Jones Stadium on Sunday, kick off 3pm.

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The 33-year-old centre had a tricky 2018, having been asked to switch from the left centre berth he had made his own to the right side in order to accommodate Bryson Goodwin’s arrival.

He spent most of last season in a two-way battle with Toby King to partner Josh Charnley on the right edge.

Atkins missed the Challenge Cup Final after having bicep tendon surgery and was 18th man as the season ended with a Grand Final defeat to Wigan at Old Trafford.

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His 22 appearances and nine tries in 2018 were his lowest totals since joining from Wakefield Wildcats at the end of 2009.

“Now it’s all about proving myself again, that’s the uttermost thing I need to do because at the moment I’d probably say I’m third-choice centre going into 2019 with Bryson (Goodwin) and Toby (King) in front of me,” said Atkins, who will walk out for the game joined by his daughters Nala, who was six on Monday, and Jada, two.

“For me personally, this game is a first chance for me to show Pricey that I’ve still got it, I’m not over the hill just yet, that I can still mix it with the best.”

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Sunday’s clash against a likely depleted Widnes, who are preparing a bid to return to Super League at the first attempt, also presents an opportunity for the new signings to show how they have settled into The Wire ranks.

Atkins is impressed with all of their contributions so far and understands fans’ appetite for a first glimpse of Australian marquee recruit Blake Austin in the halves.

“I’ve never played with somebody whose made an impact in the squad as much as he has in such a short time,” said Atkins of the 27-year-old brought in from Canberra Raiders to spice up Warrington’s attacking flair.

“He’s a different level. I’ve mentioned it to him before and he’s said ‘don’t put too much pressure on me’, but he’s going to be up there for Man of Steel in my opinion.

“He’s that kind of calibre. Whether he does it this season, next season or the one after, he’s going to be a Man of Steel contender.

“Then you’ve got Lami Tasi, Jay Clark, Matty Davis, Danny Waker, Jake Mamo. They’re all adding to the squad, all characters in their own way, all bought into the structures that Pricey’s put in there and they’re just making us a better squad.

“So it’s exciting times. You say that every pre-season but with the squad kept by the club and the additions it really does take us to the next level.

“Come and watch the lads. It’s going to be exciting.

"And unless we get them in the cup, it’s the only chance we’ll have the ‘derby’ game with Widnes this year.

"I know a lot of people are itching for rugby league again.

"It’s a Sunday afternoon game, so it’s a family orientated day. I’ve got two young girls myself so I know the 8pm kick offs can be a struggle when your kids have been at school all day.

"Hopefully it will be a nice family day and we can get the excitement and buzz back in the town because the rugby season is nearly here again.

"I want to thank the fans for their support over the years I’ve been a Warrington player.

"And thanks go to Warrington Wolves for keeping me here at the club for 10 seasons. It’s been a great rollercoaster and I don’t want to get off just yet."

* Tickets are on sale for Ryan Atkins' Testimonial game against Widnes Vikings on Sunday, kick-off 3pm, through the club.

Ticket office windows will open from 1pm at The Halliwell Jones Stadium on Sunday for purchases and collections, with turnstiles open at 1.45pm on the South and West stands for cash entry.

Family tickets will not be available on the day and will need buying in advance.

This game is all paper ticket and 2019 members will need to purchase one should they wish to attend.

Atkins’ testimonial brochure will be on sale during the afternoon.