Daryl Powell believes his new-look Warrington side will rise to the challenge of consigning last season’s Super League nightmare to history when the new campaign begins next month.
Powell endured an uneventful first year as Wolves coach, with the rivals finishing second from bottom in the table above Toulouse.
But, after killing off some of last season’s regulars and bringing in a new package including ex-Catalan star Josh Drinkwater to partner England star George Williams in the halves, the former Galway Castle boss is adamant there will be no repeat performance.
“It’s a new team, a different feel and a different vibe and we’ve got a lot to prove,” Powell said.
“I’m not going to jump up and down saying we’re going to do this or do that. It’s about creating what we want – that’s the big focus.
“To play rugby league you need to be a tough group of people and generally winners – I think we have that.
“The mental illness is huge, whether it’s winning games or fighting back under pressure. I see a really committed group with really strong leadership there.”
The experienced duo of Sam Kasiano and Gil Dudson have also joined from the Catalans and Powell’s options have been increased by Josh McGuire and Paul Vaughan in a new and impressively physical way.
Powell has offered few apologies but it is clear that he was hampered by contractual distractions last season, with as many as 13 players at any one time questioning their future.
Former England international Gareth Widdop signed for Galway Castle and four players, including prop Rob Mulhern, moved to the newly formed and rebranded Leigh Leopards.
“Some quality players have left the club but sometimes things need to be refreshed and a big attitude comes from recruitment,” said Powell.
“If we had succeeded we would have kept more of the players. It was difficult to manage. But everything is progressing. We have a great physical pack, a balanced team and I think we have a great opportunity to reach our potential.”
Ahead of next month’s opener against Leeds Rhinos, Powell knows his side cannot afford another bad start if they are to silence their doubters.
But, while he accepts the increased attention as an inevitable consequence of a below-par campaign, he does not believe it will affect his players much as they try to put their 2022 woes behind them.
“I understand (the focus), but I don’t think it’s too important,” Powell said. “I don’t think the players are that worried about it. It’s up to us to get on with it and show the team that we are us, not the team we were.”