A WARRINGTON Wolves fan group is celebrating a milestone in its support role for young players – and would like to do more by increasing membership.

Warrington Wolves Supporters’ Trust – Squadbuilder (WWST) have highlighted their backing, over a number of years, for 13 current players in what they have described as the 33-man senior squad.

Chairman Alex Chicken said the members are proud to be helping to make a difference.

She said: "The aim of WWST is to support the development, coaching and promotion of young rugby players at all levels.

"This includes aiding local junior sides, schools and the under 16s and u18s at Warrington Wolves, through to fully professional Wolves players.

"The WWST has donated over £200,000 since its inception in 2002, by supporting the Wolves Youth Development department and the Wolves Foundation community team in terms of funding the training and education of players and coaches and the donation of equipment.

"We want as many homegrown players at the club as possible. This provides a source of great pride not only for the club and the fans but also for the players, their families and friends, their school and community club."

The Trust and Squadbuilder, born out of a difficult period for the club as it struggled to survive at former home Wilderspool Stadium, continues to be a positive influence at The Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Ade Gardner, the club’s head of performance, said: “The Scholarship and Academy programmes benefit greatly from the quality of our training facility and it allows our Academy strength and conditioning staff to deliver a high calibre and thorough strength programme that would not be possible without the support of Squadbuilder."

Alex explained how WWST has been of support in recent times.

"Last year we saw the installation of new wresting mats, sponsored by Squadbuilder and the Vice Presidents, at the Padgate Campus training facility," she said.

"Later in the year we also bought two rowing machines and two ski Ergs for the gym for use by all the squads.

The Squadbuilder-sponsored rowing machines and Watt bikes also featured prominently in the club’s 36-hour Christmas community challenge in December when the players’ physical challenge to row a marathon and cycle 100km on a Watt bike was completed at four shopping venues across the town.

"We were delighted to sponsor the Academy’s 48-hour winter training at Catterick Army Camp in December, where they endured a technology free outdoor challenge in really testing conditions.

"And we have sponsored the training kit for the England Talent Pathway (ETP) programme for 350 players across the different age groups across all seven community clubs.

"The first sessions were held in October and we look forward to seeing the progression of the squads. We also support the coaching programme for ETP. There are now 750 young players in the Warrington area compared with 319 three years ago."

The 13 players in the senior squad to be backed by Squadbuilder currently or in their younger years include stablished first-team regulars Mike Cooper, Ben Currie, Toby King, Joe Philbin and Dec Patton.

Also on the list are up-and-coming talents Ellis Robson, Nathan Roebuck, Josh Thewlis, Riley Dean, Ellis Longstaff, Cole Oakley, Eribe Doro and Reece Hamblett.

Connor Wrench will join them after he completes his studies in June.

"It’s so good to see so many homegrown Squadbuilder players coming through the system," said Alex.

WWST are currently planning fund-raising events for 2020, including an annual quiz night at The Halliwell Jones Stadium and a fans’ day.

They will be holding a bucket collection at the Wire's first home fixture of the season against St Helens tonight.

The 24 players from the under 18s Academy team will be helping out in the concourses before the game and at half time.

Alex said: "We always welcome new members to support us.

"So please spread the word and encourage your friends and family and fellow Wire supporters to get behind us."

Membership starts from only £5 a year. Visit squadbuilder.com for more information, or find them on Facebook and Twitter @WarrWolvesST.