THE run-in starts now for Warrington Wolves and their Super League rivals.

No more interruptions or breaks - it is hell for leather from now until the end of the season, starting with a trip to Leeds Rhinos tomorrow.

Here, our Warrington Wolves reporter Matt Turner assesses five key talking points ahead of Round 22...

Warrington Guardian:

“Mini-season” begins

It has been a weird period in Wire’s season for all sorts of reasons, not least the departure of Daryl Powell, the appointment of Sam Burgess and the interim installment of Gary Chambers as head coach.

In terms of the schedule, too, there have been a brace of two-week breaks either side of two games in five days given the team’s non-involvement in the later stages of the Challenge Cup.

Now, though, it is a straight run through until the end of the season – whenever that comes.

At the very least, Warrington will play their final six regular-season games over the next month to determine how their season will be remembered.

How many of those do they need to win to secure a play-off spot? I would be surprised if Wire were thinking in that way – they simply need to focus on getting themselves back on track.

Warrington Guardian: Wire are looking to avoid an eight consecutive defeat in all competitions, which would be a club record for consecutive losses in a single campaign in the Super League eraWire are looking to avoid an eight consecutive defeat in all competitions, which would be a club record for consecutive losses in a single campaign in the Super League era (Image: SWPix.com)

Have players bought into Chambers’ vision?

Given the short turnaround between Powell’s departure and the game against Catalans, the display against the league leaders was not a fair reflection on how much the interim head coach has got through to the squad.

Having had a fortnight to work with them, however, Sunday will surely be a more accurate showing of how they have responded to the things he is trying to implement.

“Flat and fast” were the two words he used to describe how he wants the team to play in a nutshell, which would indicate a wish to return to the kind of style Wire played when they were at their most successful under Tony Smith.

Of course, it would be too much to expect a complete transformation in what remains a short period of time, but we could well see something of a difference.

Warrington Guardian: Gary Chambers will be in interim charge for the rest of the yearGary Chambers will be in interim charge for the rest of the year (Image: SWPix.com)

A battle of two teams low on confidence

Despite their horrific form, Wire are still clinging onto their top-six spot thanks to two main factors.

The first of which is their red-hot start to the campaign and the cushion it built for them, but another is the fact nobody below them is making a sustained push to overhaul them.

One of those clubs are Leeds, who are finding backing up their run to the Grand Final last year difficult.

The Rhinos have lost their past three games and have been wildly inconsistent all year to leave themselves four points adrift of the play-off spots in ninth.

However, Leeds have become the masters of timing their good form just right over the years and if that is to happen again, Wire will hope to delay that by at least one more week.

Warrington Guardian: Leeds are on a run of three straight defeatsLeeds are on a run of three straight defeats (Image: SWPix.com)

Will Gleeson have made a difference to Wire’s attack?

A familiar face is back in the fold at Warrington in the shape of Martin Gleeson.

Having played more than 100 times for the club as a player, he has been added to the coaching staff for what remains of 2023 in order to support Chambers and assistant Richard Marshall.

His specific focus will be on the team’s attack – the area in which he has built a strong reputation in rugby union as attack coach both for Wasps and the England national team.

It is an area Wire desperately need to improve in – their six straight Super League losses have seen them score an average of just over 11 points per game – and Sunday will be the first chance we get to see what he has been working on.

Warrington Guardian: Martin Gleeson has been working on the team's attackMartin Gleeson has been working on the team's attack (Image: Warrington Wolves)

What will Mikaele’s role be?

Given he only landed back in the country 48 hours prior to kick off, it was somewhat of a surprise Tom Mikaele even made the bench against Catalans last time out.

The big prop is one of those for whom the two-week break was opportune as he acclimatised to life back in England following his return on a short-term deal.

His fine form prior to his departure to Gold Coast Titans came when he was starting games alongside Paul Vaughan – a role he was thrust into partly out of necessity but one he very much made his own.

Now he’s back, will we see him setting the tone from the off once again?

Warrington Guardian: Tom Mikaele made his return off the bench against CatalansTom Mikaele made his return off the bench against Catalans (Image: Mike Boden)