NEW WARRINGTON Wolves boss Steve Price is expecting a baptism of fire when Betfred Super League champions Leeds Rhinos visit HJ Stadium tomorrow.
The season opener will be Price’s first competitive game since taking over from long-serving coach Tony Smith at the end of last season.
The Australian former half-back began his coaching career at St George-Illawarra Dragons and was assistant to current England chief Wayne Bennett before replacing him there in 2012. After being sacked two years later, Price joined Cronulla Sharks as assistant-coach and was on the backroom staff when they won the NRL Grand Final in 2016.
Price – who has also coached Samoa – said: “It has been a long pre-season for the guys who weren’t involved in the World Cup and everyone’s just champing at the bit now to kick off against the reigning champions.
“You always strive to kick off the season in a good way, but it is important we get ourselves right and focus on the things we’ve been working really hard on throughout our pre-season.
“The boys have done a lot of training and in our friendlies we feel we have slowly got a little bit better each game.
“We are really pleased with where we’re at at the moment, but it’s all about the first game now.”
Rhinos are not an unknown quantity to Price. He continued: “I know a bit about Leeds, my footy manager – Kylie Leuluai – spent a lot of time there so he has a good understanding of them.
“I’ve got a huge amount of respect for them as a club. There’s no better way to kick it off and the boys are excited to start playing now.”
Price insisted he hasn’t tapped Leuluai for information on tomorrow’s opponents, but he said: “He is a good lad and he has been fantastic for our footy club in a short amount of time.”