Wire fan and author Rob Watson has his say on another disappointing finish to the season for Warrington Wolves...

IN the end it finished with the all too familiar disappointment. It feels like more of an overhaul is needed rather than just minor tweaks.

Wire are still missing a dominant half-back who will take control of a game and be involved in almost every play, whether it includes them touching the ball or merely guiding the play from close to the ball.

The gradual decline of the pack has seen this year being one when only three props have been trusted to play significant roles.

Being over-reliant on Hill, Philbin and Cooper was clearly highlighted in the play-off loss when the latter was missing having been one of if not the best player for Wire this season.

Warrington Guardian:

We had two examples of the tries we have been missing all year in this game against Hull. The ball was moved sharply to the left when close to the try line, the timing of the runs and accuracy of the passing allowing Ashton to squeeze over in the corner on both occasions.

Even with those tries Wire still could not manage to win when they needed to most. Overall, the attack was still lacking in cohesion and creativity.

Despite many changes of playing personnel and even coaching staff over the last few years, one truth about Wire remains. It looks clear that in every other Super League changing room one message would be the same – slow Wire down and you will beat them.

Any time a team manages to slow down their play-the-balls Wire struggle to get the win, particularly in play-off games.

It looks like a case of plan A being removed and that drains Wire’s confidence that they can find another way of winning the game.

They seem to lack the ideas to do anything else, or the ability to grind out a slow game and produce a closely fought win at the back end.

From the outside looking in, it is always difficult to accurately judge how much the performances and results are down to the coaching and how much is down to the players.

Overall though, there does seem a lack in the overwhelming enthusiasm that all top sides have in any sport.

There were signs of effort and passion, particularly in the desperate scramble to defend their own try line a couple of times.

Warrington Guardian:

In possession though, there were too few players around the ball and not enough running or support play, which is a sign that either or both of enthusiasm or belief were not as high as they should have been.

Even defensively, there were not many of those extra aggressive sets that can change the feel and momentum of a match.

It can be debated whether Wire’s continued lack of success in Super League is because of or despite the quality of the players.

Ultimately, the overhaul I think is needed is perhaps the one that is most difficult, that being a change of culture.

For the last 10 years or so, Wire have gone into most of those seasons with a squad that I believe was capable of winning the Grand Final.

To finally win the title they have to find a way to win the last game of the season, instead they have built a reputation as a team that will always somehow find a way to lose their last game.

Changing reputations can be tough in sport as they can in life. It can be done though, otherwise teams would never end long waits for success.

All those waits have been ended by changes being made and incredible amounts of hard work that result in a change of belief about what can be achieved.

There are still plenty of excellent players at the club, about to be joined by one of the all-time great players next year, so it is far from being all doom and gloom.

Warrington Guardian:

Individual players are unlikely to be able to break the title curse on their own, though. It will need that culture change and a collective effort.

Hopefully some of the promising young players that we caught a glimpse of this year will be part of that change.

With a couple of big, aggressive additions to the pack and somebody to fill the role of marshalling the team around the field, Wire will have the look of a title winning team. Whether they actually do it or not will depend on the things that aren’t always easy to see like belief, enthusiasm and complete togetherness.

I do think it would be remiss to finish without thanking the players and everybody involved with the club and the game in general. In this unique season, they have done all they can to put matches on for our entertainment.

We are used to players putting their own health on the line – perhaps we take that too much for granted – but this year by training and playing they were potentially putting the loved ones health at risk too.

This year has been desperately depressing for many people and a Wire game on the telly has been the highlight of the week and something to look forward to for lots of fans and has been something that has helped them get through the week. Despite our frustration at results in the end, I do think we should say thank you.

It would have been great to win a title any year, but it would have been bittersweet to not be able to see them do it at Old Trafford in front of thousands of Wire fans.

The club and the players can think of the fans this year like the stars in the sky – although you can’t always see us, you can know that we are always there.

We get frustrated at the unfulfilled potential but if any Wire team ever does win Super League, they will be afforded local legend status forever.

Hopefully we will all be allowed back into the stadiums for at least the majority of next season and Wire can finally find a way to win the last game.