THE clearest indication of what Warrington Wolves are capable of with the ball arguably came in their last Challenge Cup game.

Scoring 31 points against a St Helens defence that remains the most miserly in Super League and being disappointed they did not score more was quite the statement of intent – and there is one man behind the scenes calling the shots for it all.

Martin Gleeson was brought to the club towards the end of last season with a specific brief to coach the team’s attack after Gary Chambers took interim charge of first-team affairs following Daryl Powell’s departure.

It was only meant to be a short-term arrangement, but a two-year deal for him to stay and form a key part of Sam Burgess’ backroom team was struck.

Now, the fruits of his labour are starting to show – and there could be even more to come.

Warrington Guardian: George Williams celebrates scoring against St Helens in the Challenge Cup quarter finalsGeorge Williams celebrates scoring against St Helens in the Challenge Cup quarter finals (Image: PA Wire)

“Gleese has got so many plays in his mind - I’m almost having to slow him down at times because he’s got that many ideas,” says George Williams, whose dealings with Gleeson as part of the team’s brains trust see them have contact on an near-familial level.

“He’s always sending me clips to the point where my Mrs is saying “is that him again?” as we’re talking all the time, but it’s great for me.

“Gleese just loves rugby. We speak all the time talking plays and all sorts and at the minute.

“I love working under him. When the club asked me what I thought of him after the brief spell he had last year, I was saying “we need to keep him.”

“He brought us on loads as a group and you’re starting to see now how he wants us to play.

“I can’t speak highly enough of him - he’s a great bloke and I can have a laugh with him about things outside of rugby.

“He watches every game whether it’s Super League, NRL and even rugby union - he’s sending me scrum plays from union he thinks we can try.

“He’s great for my development personally - he watches that much footage, even from our training sessions.”

While he made his name in league in his playing days including a 100-game spell with The Wire between 2004 and 2009, most of Gleeson’s coaching has come in the 15-man code, building a strong reputation as an attack coach with both Wasps and the England national team.

Naturally, then, the next step appears to be a head coaching role – something he had agreed to do in the USA with Major League Rugby outfit Seattle Seawolves before a change of heart led him back to Warrington.

“I think he’ll want to be a head coach at some point. I’d say he’s got those ambitions,” Williams said.

“Him and Sam (Burgess) have got a great little thing going on and they bounce off each other really well.

“Rich Marshall adds brilliantly to that too, so it’s a good environment to be in. It’s a pleasure coming to work at the minute.”

Under Gleeson’s system, Williams has the freedom to move either side of the ruck as opposed to being tied to an edge.

And he feels such a role unlocks his best form and allows for easier transitions when injuries hit, with Josh Drinkwater having recently stepped back in after youngster Leon Hayes suffered a season-ending ankle injury.

The Australian, who has frequently come under fire from supporters for his performances, has started the past two games to good effect and Williams puts that down to the greater clarity their style offers.

“That’s the hard part of playing in the halves - when you win, you get the plaudits but if you lose, it’s your fault. That’s how it is,” he said of the criticism of Drinkwater.

“He’ll probably tell you himself that he didn’t have the best year last year, but he’s come in and done everything he’s had to do.

“With the system we’re playing and the clarity we have, it’s been easy for Drinky to slot back in and he’s played well.

“We all know our roles and he probably knows his role a bit more than he did previously.

“We’re all gutted to Leon, but he’s got 15 years of this ahead of him. It’s unfortunate for him, but he will come back better for it.”

On his own role, he added: “Even if I’m not touching the ball, I’m influential and calling the plays.

“The more I’m in the game and the more I can roam around, the better it is for me and for the team.”

And so, on the very same ground upon which their slaying of the Saints took place, The Wire will have another chance to show what they can do with a place at Wembley Stadium on the line.

When Williams joined The Wire in 2021, it was to be influential in games such as the semi-final clash with Huddersfield Giants on Sunday as the club looks to return to the national stadium for the first time in five years.

“If you’re not getting excited for these games, you have to wonder why you’re playing,” he said.

“These are the games you strive through pre-season to be involved in and we’ve got a great opportunity in front of us.

“Everyone will bring their attitude this week because of the big prize at the end of it.

“We’ve got two games to win before we can get that, but if we win on Sunday it’s obviously a great chance for us to win some silverware.”