DARYL Powell insists Warrington are in a much different place as they look to get over last year’s Super League nightmare.
And although he knows the spotlight will be on him, he will not be passing it on to his players.
The Wolves ended up an embarrassing 11th in 2022 as fans vented their fury at under-performing stars and big promises in the boss’ first year counted for nothing.
Much is being debated about how they will start this year, with him many people’s favourite to be first coach to be axed.
But he has already seen enough to know things will be different in 2023 after adding much-needed physical size and mental shape.
Powell said when asked what went wrong: “We had 13 players off contract. It’s impossible to manage.
“To play rugby league, you’ve got to be a tough group of people and you’ve got to be winners across the board.
“Mentality’s absolutely huge, whether you’re winning games or under pressure. Now I see a really resilient group with strong leadership.
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“Sometimes things need freshening up. Mentality comes from recruitment and how the leaders behave. It’s about bringing values to life and living them – all of those things, we’ve got right.
“People influence others. Josh Drinkwater’s a different half back to George Williams. Josh McGuire is a goer with an unbelievable attitude to compete. Paul Vaughan’s a great professional and Sam Kasiano is just massive.
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“You get confidence from just seeing him train, you think, ‘How do you deal with him?’ Everyone who’s come in has had an influence and that just grows.
“There’s also more size – when I first came to the club, that’s what everyone spoke about. This year, it’s a big, physical pack with a lot of quality.
“It’s a new team, a different feel, a different vibe and we’ve got a lot to prove. It’s about proving what we’re about and showing everybody.
“We’ve a great opportunity of achieving our potential.”
Powell, who named Stefan Ratchford as captain, concedes he will only find out Warrington’s true mental toughness once the Super League season starts.
But he is more confident they can roll with any blows and not crumble like they did in 2022.
He added: “I feel we’re better equipped. From everything I’ve seen, we’re a united group who’s ready to go – we’ve been ready to go for two weeks.
“Last year was tough. You’ve got to learn from it and I understand why the spotlight will be on us early in the season.
“But I don’t think it matters too much and it’s not something I’ll be conveying to the players. This is about showing the team we are, not the team we were.”