THE new year will see Warrington Wolves’ full squad for the 2020 campaign will come together for the first time.

The Wire’s seven players who spent the autumn on international duty will report for their shortened pre-season on Thursday, January 2.

They include six Great Britain representatives – marquee signing Gareth Widdop, co-captains Chris Hill and Jack Hughes, half-back Blake Austin, hooker Daryl Clark and prop Joe Philbin – and Tonga second rower Ben Murdoch-Masila.

By the time they rejoin their teammates, time will be of the essence as there will be just 28 days to prepare for the opening Super League fixture against Wigan Warriors.

Head coach Steve Price says it is “paramount” his representative contingent are in good condition when they return to training.

“The international players will be back on January 2,” he said.

“It’s paramount that they’re in a good place when they get back.

“It’s a long season and there’s a lot of rugby to be played, but they’ve been on a long tour so it’s right they get their rest.

“They’ll all be ready to go when they get back.”

The remainder of the squad are enjoying a break from training having completed the first phase of pre-season with a 36-hour community challenge around Warrington last week.

When they return, training will centre more on work with the ball as they aim to give half-back Widdop time to form a bond with the remainder of the Wire creative spine of Austin, Clark and Stefan Ratchford.

With that in mind, Price highlighted the importance of their week-long training camp in Portugal, which begins on January 12.

“Portugal is a critical week for us,” he said.

“That is especially the case with a new spine coming together this year, there will be a lot of rugby-based training.

“That will be the main focus after the Christmas break going into our two friendlies and the opening competition game against Wigan.”

Following his performances for the Tongan Invitational XIII in impressive victories over Great Britain and world champions Australia, plenty of onus will be on Murdoch-Masila to replicate his international form at club level.

The former Salford man started both games and produced big minutes, while his appearances in primrose and blue have mainly been short, sharp bursts off the bench.

Price says it is too early to say whether Murdoch-Masila would be a more regular starter in 2020 but that the second rower was carrying injuries for much of last season.

“Benny had an outstanding series for Tonga,” he said.

“He was fit and healthy off the back of our season and his lower leg injuries had all healed.

“It would be nice to get more game time from him, but we’re not looking too far ahead at the moment.”