Signed from Salford ahead of the 2012 season, Ratchford has become one of Super League’s most dangerous and versatile players.
While he began 2012 and ended 2016 at full-back, the period in between has seen the former Salford man notch up appearances at centre, stand-off, second-row, hooker and loose-forward.
While pundits aplenty have suggested that the 28-year-old could have more than a solitary England cap he concentrated on one position, Ratchford himself prefers to rise to the challenge of making Warrington tick from a variety of positions.
Pace off the mark, supreme handling and instinctive peripheral vision are hallmarks of the former Wigan St Patricks amateur, who clocked up his 150th appearance for Warrington in 2016.
The former Hull flyer enjoyed an eventful debut season at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, becoming a firm fans’ favourite along the way.
The 24-year-old began the 2016 campaign with a flurry of tries, only to lose his position in the starting 13 midway through the campaign as Tony Smith opted to shift Rhys Evans to the wing.
Lineham earned praise from his head coach for his dedication to training during this hiatus, before returning to the side in fine style with crucial tries against Hull and St Helens as Wire won the League Leaders’ Shield and qualified for their third Grand Final.
An accomplished finisher who combines the pace of a true three-quarter with the build of a back-row forward, Lineham adds further value to his new club my making solid metres out of his own half, as well as his try-scoring ability.
Debuting for Warrington in 2010 having signed from the Wakefield Wildcats, the rapid centre has gone on to score 138 tries in 212 appearances to date.
A lover of the physical battle in the centres, Atkins’ brutal defence has become every bit as much a feature of the 31-year-old’s game as his trademark speed.
Selected for the Super League Dream Team in 2016, Atkins signed a two-year contract extension at the conclusion of the campaign, committing him to the club until 2019.
The path from Wigan to Warrington is well trodden. The point of difference in the case of Matty Russell is that his move down the A49 came via the Gold Coast of Australia.
A product of Wigan’s Academy, Russell featured on two occasions for the Warriors in 2012 as he served as understudy to Sam Tomkins, as well as six matches on loan with Hull FC prior to his one season sabbatical down under.
Having returned to the UK with Warrington ahead of season 2014, Russell quickly forged a reputation as a strong running full-back for whom returning kicks with interest and scooting out of dummy-half were dangerous trademarks.
With Stefan Ratchford now a feature in that position, Russell’s skills have proved to be more than transferable to the wing.
His Wolves career has so far yielded 70 appearances, 19 tries and seven man of the match awards.
The rabbit pulled from the hat of Tony Smith following Chris Sandow’s 11th hour withdrawal from a second full season in Super League, Kevin Brown joined Warrington from Widnes for an undisclosed fee.
The 32-year-old played international rugby as recently as last Autumn when Wayne Bennett drafted him into the halves for the final Four Nations fixture against Australia.
Formerly of Wigan and Huddersfield prior to his four-year stint with the Vikings, Brown has crossed the whitewash on 108 occasions during his 297 Super League career appearances.
“Joining Warrington excites me,” he said as the signing was announced in December.
“I want to win trophies and Warrington is a club that gives me a great chance to do this.
“With a great stadium and a big fan base, I can’t wait to pull the jersey on. Being coached by Tony (Smith) is something I’m really looking forward to and playing in such a talented squad is a dream.”
Warrington Wolves owner Simon Moran achieved a longstanding ambition by signing the former Kangaroo international ahead of the 2016 season – and the 34-year-old did not disappoint.
Arriving in Cheshire with a reputation for solid performances from either full-back, hooker or the halves, Gidley quickly became established in the stand-off role – and penned a one-year contract extension midway through the campaign.
While the former Newcastle Knights’ tactical kicking and vision often makes him the man responsible for steering the Wire around the park, he’s equally adept at hitting a gap at speed and crashing over the line from close range.
D.O.B 7 June 1982
Previous ClubsNewcastle Knights
Representative Honours Australia, New South Wales, NSW Country
When Kevin Penny left Warrington for the Wakefield Trinity Wildcats at the conclusion of the 2010 season, his career at The Halliwell Jones Stadium looked to be at an end.
When he departed Bell Vue and signed for Swinton a year later, his days in Super League appeared to be over.
Tony Smith kept his eye on the rapid winger, who refused to give up on his dream and earned a fairytale return to his hometown club in 2014.
Wolves’ fans quickly realised that, while the former favourite had compromised none of his breakneck speed, time away from the spotlight had seen Penny develop a new-found relish for his defensive duties, so much so that he has since featured at full-back as well as on the flank.
His second coming in Cheshire started slowly with three appearances in 2014, in which he scored four tries, and a further 12 in 14 appearances back on loan with the Lions.
Penny has featured in primrose and blue far more regularly in the intervening two years, making 20 appearances and crossing the whitewash on 14 occasions last season.
Handed an extended run in the team, largely at right-centre, during a whirlwind 2016, Toby King rewarded the faith of his coaches with a string of consistent performances.
Intelligent in defence, tough in the tackle and possessing an elusive sidestep and turn of speed with ball in hand, Wire also made the most of the 20-year-old’s versatility in 2016, switching him to interchange back-row forward after injuries struck the squad late in the campaign.
King’s most memorable moment from the fans’ perspective was a stunning solo score in the dying moments of the Challenge Cup Semi-Final against Wakefield.
For playing an often-unsung role as an integral part of a cohesive unit as Warrington reached both major finals, King more than deserved that moment of personal glory.
Blythe made his Super League debut for the Wolves way back in 2007 off the bench in a home win over Salford; his next outing then being mid-way through the following year.
Tony Smith came to fancy Blythe as more of a centre and – having taken him out of the first-team firing line for much of the 2009 and 2o1o seasons – Blythe made 22 appearances, primarily in the backs, as Warrington won the League Leaders Shield in 2011.
Although 18 further games followed in 2012, Blythe – an able and dependable deputy for Chris Bridge and Ryan Atkins – opted to move on and spent the next four seasons with the Bradford Bulls, before rejoining the Wolves on a one-year deal for 2017.
Having excelled under the tutelage of Lee Briers in the Warrington Academy, Declan Patton made his Super League debut as a 19-year-old in April 2015.
The opposition was Wakefield, the result an 80-0 win, and so commenced a run of eight successive appearances.
The teenager impressed in a 30-20 defeat against Wigan, steered the Wire around the park in a remarkable 29-10 victory over Leeds and was instrumental in a thrilling home victory, 22-20, against Widnes.
An occasional starter during the early stages of 2016, Patton was then installed to the first team, in the absence through injury of Chris Sandow, during the business end of the campaign.
He was far from overawed, excelling as crucial victories were achieved against Catalans, Widnes, Hull and St Helens on route to the League Leaders Shield and the Grand Final.
Possessing undoubted durability to complement his quality with hands and feet, Patton shrugged-off two would-be tacklers to cross for the opening try of the Grand Final.
The evening ended in disappointment, but if Patton fulfils his precocious talent, plenty more big stage opportunities surely beckon.
A left-field signing ahead of the 2016 season having impressed on trial with the club, Frenchman Benjamin Jullien admitted that he only expected to play one first-grade fixture during his debut campaign.
He played 12, including a starring role as Tony Smith’s men downed Wigan 40-10 at home in April.
Previously enjoying stints in Avignon, Brisbane and North Wales, Jullien had plied his trade in four different nations by the age of 21.
Hoping to make Warrington a more permanent home, the Frenchman featured for the Wire in the new position of hooker during the festive friendly at Widnes.
Centre Harvey Livett is a graduate of the club’s academy system and England age-group international for whom Tony Smith has high hopes.
“We recognise that Harvey has some real potential,” he said.
“He’s been training with the full-time squad and has been exceptional with his attitude.
“He’s earned his position in the squad and I can see him going on to have a good future with us.”