Jack Hughes believes that Warrington need to become more resilient if the Wire are to get their hands on their first Super League title in 2020.
Despite an impressive first half to the campaign, results dropped towards the back end of 2019 winning just three of their final 12 league fixtures.
The Wire were knocked out in the first week of the play-offs by Castleford and Hughes says mental toughness and consistency will be key if Warrington are to go all the way this year.
“As a group we’ve got to become more resilient,” said the second-rower.
“We know this club has high standards and expectations and the way our season finished was very disappointing and not good enough. If we want to be crowned champions we’ve got to be better on and off the field.
“It’s a long season and doing the right things consistently week in week out is tough. If you look at who’s won the Grand Final over the last 10 years it’s the same teams because they’ve been the best at being consistent, mentally tough and resilient enough to stick at it for a full season.
“Over the last few years we’ve fallen short on those little details that take you all the way. We’re working hard as a team to be more resilient and be able to handle that pressure and hopefully that’ll put us in good stead this year.”
While the league form dropped towards the end of 2019, last season will be remembered for that famous day at Wembley Stadium when Warrington beat local rivals St Helens to lift the Challenge Cup.
Hughes lifted the iconic trophy as co-captain alongside Chris Hill and says it was a day that lives long in the memory.
“Bringing the Challenge Cup home was a great achievement and something that will stick with me forever,” added Hughes.
“Personally for Hilly [Chris Hill] to let me lift the trophy with him as co-captain was something I’ll cherish forever.
“The way you finish is what you remember though and the way we finished our season was definitely disappointing.
“We’ve got the last few weeks now to get more hard work under our belts and put the finishing touches in place ready for that first game against Wigan.
“It’s always important to start well. A slow start can lead to all sorts of trouble down the line. It’s important in the first month that we get off to a good start, put some good building blocks in place and get points on the board early.”
Hughes’ performances in 2019 earned him selection on the Great Britain Lions tour Down Under last Autumn.
While the tour finished in a 4-0 series defeat for the Lions, Hughes made two appearances at centre and is determined to keep his spot in the international set up going forward.
“It was disappointing with the way the results and that side of things went but it was a great achievement to represent GB and is something I’ve aspired to do for a number of years now.
“To get that international jersey and that first cap is something I’ve achieved now and hopefully I can kick on and keep myself in the international frame for a number of years.
“I still feel my best is yet to come, I’ve not peaked yet as a player, so hopefully I can keep myself in the frame for many years.”
While away with Great Britain, Hughes got the opportunity to join up with Warrington’s new marquee signing Gareth Widdop.
Widdop featured in all four games for GB, and whilst the scrum-half is sidelined until round four with an ankle injury, Hughes expects big things from our new number seven.
“He’s everything you expect,” explained Hughes.
“Every team needs a Gaz Widdop. He’s a leader, pushes the team around and is incredibly reliable with the boot.
“I think he’ll really complement Austo [Blake Austin] well and we’ll see even more from him this year with what Gareth can add. It always freshens up the squad to have new faces and we’re really honoured to have someone of Gareth’s calibre.”
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