WARRINGTON Wolves are now exactly halfway through their season.

They have played 14 games – 13 in Super League, one in the Challenge Cup – and there are another 14 to go before the end of the regular season.

With that in mind, Wolves reporter Matt Turner has put together a “half-term report” on what has been a disappointing opening to the campaign for Daryl Powell’s men…


With the team languishing in eighth place and performing well below both internal and external expectations, this is a difficult one.

However, there have been some bright spots.

Chief among those has been the increased integration of the promising young players in the first-team squad.

Josh Thewlis has started half of the team’s games at full-back and has distinguished himself, Connor Wrench has also been a consistent performer and looks set for an extended run of games on the wing while Riley Dean and Ellis Longstaff have had intermittent stints in the side.

Warrington Guardian:

Connor Wrench's form has been among the bright spots of the campaign. Picture by SWPix.com

Daryl Powell has spoken frequently about his desire to use the remainder of the campaign to give said players as much of a chance as possible, so we could yet see that continue.

On-field discipline has also been relatively good – in Super League, only Wigan have given away fewer penalties than The Wire this season while they have not had a player miss a game through suspension for nearly three months.

In general, they have also attacked well when given the chance and they ranked highly in terms of tries and points scored at the end of April, although the past two games have seen a drop-off in that area.


Where to begin?

Perhaps the most glaring weakness has been the defence, which for the most part has looked extremely vulnerable.

Their 13 Super League matches have seen them concede 310 points – an average of just under 24 per game.

Only three teams – bottom side Toulouse Olympique, second-bottom Wakefield Trinity and ninth-place Salford Red Devils – have leaked more points than Powell’s side.

Warrington Guardian:

Bevan French scores for Wigan Warriors against The Wire earlier this month. Picture by SWPix.com

On plenty of occasions this year, Powell has openly questioned his players’ effort and application in matches, particularly during their run of five consecutive losses through March and April – their worst losing run since 2017.

Although steps forward have been made in both aspects of late, there is still a long way to go.

A number of proud records have also fallen by the wayside – 2022 is the first time since 2008 that Warrington have not featured in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals while Catalans and Wakefield won at The Halliwell Jones Stadium for the first time since 2011 and 2014 respectively earlier this year.

Warrington Guardian:

Scenes of dejection after the Challenge Cup defeat to Wakefield. Picture by SWPix.com

The recent defeats to Wigan and Catalans also saw Wire concede 40 points in successive Super League games for the first time since 2009.


With just five victories to pick from, it is not a particularly large pool of options but one game in particular sticks out.

Last month, Huddersfield Giants were thrashed 32-10 at The Halliwell Jones Stadium with the club’s youngsters coming to the fore.

Josh Thewlis scored a hat-trick of tries while Riley Dean – playing in an entirely new half-back combination alongside Peter Mata’utia – notched four assists and maximum Steve Prescott Man of Steel points.

In what was a watershed moment for the club’s youth system, all 32 points were scored by graduates of the academy.

As well as Thewlis’ treble and Dean’s four goals, further tries came courtesy of Connor Wrench, Toby King and Ben Currie.

Warrington Guardian:

Riley Dean goes to celebrate a try with fellow academy graduate Josh Thewlis against Huddersfield. Picture by Mike Boden


Sadly, there are plenty of options here but one in particular – the 34-18 defeat at Hull Kingston Rovers – sticks out in my mind.

Having been dumped out of the Challenge Cup by Wakefield the previous week, all the talk was that a new calendar month was to start a new beginning.

On April Fool’s Day, however, they were the butt of the jokes.

Having arrived at Craven Park just half an hour before the scheduled kick-off time due to traffic issues, a delayed start did not help The Wire as they fell 20-0 down inside the first 16 minutes against a rampant Rovers side.

They never recovered and were consigned to a fifth straight defeat, with the travelling supporters visibly and audibly expressing their anger.

Warrington Guardian:

Hull KR celebrate a try during their 34-18 win over The Wire in April. Picture by SWPix.com



In a season of mainly dark times, the young full-back has been a shining light.

Seven consecutive starts in his preferred position is his longest run there to date and the 20-year-old served up some impressive performances.

It comes to something that the anticipated signing of Canterbury’s Matt Dufty has been met with plenty of concern that Thewlis’ development will be hindered as a result.

He will have a fight on his hands to regain his place in the side when he returns from injury, with Gareth Widdop joining him and Stefan Ratchford as full-back options having impressed there in Thewlis’ absence against St Helens last time out.

However, he is making a stronger case than ever that he is Warrington Wolves’ future in the number one shirt.

Honourable mentions must go to Connor Wrench and Matty Ashton, who continue to grow into their roles on the edges, while Danny Walker too has rarely let the side down.

Warrington Guardian:

Josh Thewlis has scored six tries in 10 appearances this season. Picture by Mike Boden


Powell made six new additions to the Wire squad ahead of the new season and their impact has been mixed.

Two of them – prop James Harrison and outside back Greg Minikin – are yet to make their debuts after suffering ACL injuries before joining from Featherstone Rovers and Hull KR respectively but are set to be ready next month.

Peter Mata’utia is the only player to have started every game this season – mostly in the centres but with stints in the halves and at full-back – and he has been largely solid.

Joe Bullock too has been a relatively consistent performer and having been in and out of the side due to injuries and a suspension, Oliver Holmes has shown more signs of finding his feet in recent weeks.

Can we expect more from Billy Magoulias in the second half of the season? Potentially, as he too gets to grips with life in Super League after seeing his debut delayed by pre-season ankle surgery having joined from Cronulla Sharks.

Warrington Guardian:

Peter Mata'utia has started every game for Warrington Wolves this season. Picture by Mike Boden


THERE can be no doubt that the first half of Wire’s season falls at the very least under the “must do better” category.

Although teething problems were to be expected as Daryl Powell overhauled the style of play, nine defeats in 14 games is simply not good enough for a club with ambitions of challenging for honours.

Improvement in pretty much every area is needed if they are to make something of their season and make the play-offs, which is probably the most realistic target for the remainder of the season.

With front-row reinforcements on the way in the shape of new signings Kyle Amor and Thomas Mikaele plus the fit-again James Harrison, there will at least be some fresh blood to come into the side in a crucial area.

Having put in arguably their best 80-minute performance of the season against St Helens last time out despite falling to defeat, however, there is a platform to be built upon.

Warrington Guardian:

Can Wire build on a promising showing against St Helens last time out? Picture by Mike Boden