DARYL Powell insists Warrington are in a much different place as they seek to overcome last year’s Super League nightmare.
And while he knows the spotlight will be on him, he won’t pass it on to his players.
Wolves completed an embarrassing 11e in 2022 as fans vented their fury at underperforming stars and the boss’ freshman year promises counted for nothing.
There is much talk about how they will start this year, with him the favorite of many to be the first manager to be sacked.
But he’s seen enough already to know things will be different in 2023 after adding much-needed physical size and mental fitness.
Powell said when asked what was wrong: “We had 13 players out of contract. It’s impossible to manage.
“To play rugby league you have to be a tough group of people and you have to be winners at every level.
“The mentality is 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 a refresh. The mentality comes from the recruitment and the behavior of the leaders. It’s about bringing values to life and living them – all of those things, we’re right.
“People influence others. Josh Drinkwater is a different half of George Williams. Josh McGuire is an amateur with an incredible attitude to compete. Paul Vaughan is a great professional and Sam Kasiano is just huge.
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“You gain confidence just seeing him training, you think, ‘How do you deal with him? Everyone who came has had an influence and it is only growing.
“There’s also more size – when I came to the club that’s what everyone was talking 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 have a lot to prove. It’s about proving who we are and showing everyone.
“We have a great opportunity to realize our potential.
Powell, who named Stefan Ratchford captain, admits he will only discover Warrington’s true mental strength once the Super League season begins.
But he’s more confident they can roll with any blow and not crumble like they did in 2022.
He added: “I think we are better equipped. From everything I’ve seen, we’re a united group that’s ready to go – we’ve been ready to go for two weeks.
“Last year was difficult. We have to learn from it and I understand why the spotlight will be on us at the start of the season.
“But I don’t think it matters too much and it’s not something I’m going to pass on to the players. It’s about showing the team we are, not the team we were.