SEEING a Warrington Wolves side without Chris Hill in it is going to take some getting used to.

So many Wire fans have grown up with the sight of the giant, scrum-capped figure barrelling forward for carry after dutiful carry.

It is easy to forget he had a 100 plus-game career at Leigh Centurions before joining The Wire in 2012, but seeing him in the shirt of another Super League club just will not seem right.

As the man himself has said, however, all good things must come to an end.

It is an end many thought might come this year, with his contract up and a raft of Testimonial events planned to celebrate his contribution.

Given the superb form he has displayed throughout 2021, however, there will have been many hoping he stuck around to help ease the club into a new era under Daryl Powell.

Free of the responsibilities of captaincy – something he admitted had started to weigh heavily on him – Hill has turned back the clock with some superb displays.

It has been a delightful throwback to the front rower that burst onto the scene all those years ago, catching the eye with the slight of hand and nifty footwork that went with his immense power.

Make no mistake, Huddersfield Giants are gaining a player who evidently still has plenty left to give and one of Powell’s key priorities will now be to replace a man who has been a cornerstone of the Wire pack.

Does that replacement come from within? Joe Philbin has been The Wire’s front-row heir apparent for a while now so is it time to see how he handles the responsibility of regular front-row starts? Is Eribe Doro ready for more regular action?

Or, as seems more likely, does the next Chris Hill come from outside the club? And from the domestic game or the NRL?

One could argue Warrington were a prop light even if Hill had stayed despite the signing of Featherstone's James Harrison – who may now miss a chunk of 2022 anyway after having ACL reconstruction surgery – and the anticipated arrival of Joe Bullock from Wigan.

The need for front-row reinforcements has just become more apparent.

With George Williams set to step into the second marquee player spot alongside Gareth Widdop next year, however, attracting the kind of high-profile addition many supporters would want may prove tricky.

But that is a quandary for another day. For now, it is all about celebrating the contribution of one of the club’s modern greats.

Is he Warrington’s best front rower of the Super League era? It is tough to see beyond the likes of Adrian Morley for that honour, but he is no doubt in the conversation.