Warrington Wolves have extended the contracts of the following players:
Ben Westwood 3 year extension until 2007
Paul Wood - 2 year extension until 2007 (already on a 1 year extension to 2005)
Jon Clarke - 2 year extension until 2006
Mark Hilton -
2 year extension until 2006
Mike Wainwright - 1 year extension until 2005
A powerful running centre or winger, Westwood recovered from a broken leg to finish the 2003 season in impressive form, scoring six tries in the last seven Super League games. Westwood came through Wakefield Trinity Academy, touring South Africa with England U21 in 2001 before joining Warrington in a �60000 transfer in the 2002 season, when he also made an Origin appearance for Yorkshire. Rated a future Great Britain centre, with then club coach David Plange touting him "the next Keith Senior" on his arrival at Wilderspool in June 2002.
Ben Westwood: "I chose to extend my time at Warrington as I am enjoying my rugby here and why change what you're enjoying. It is a club that is going places and I want to be part of that. I've decided to re-locate to the Warrington area from Wakefield, as I am enjoying it so much."
Warrington's latest Great Britain representative, Wood was called into the Ashes squad before a shoulder injury on his GB debut against New Zealand residents curtailed his Test hopes. Wood has made immense strides in the past two seasons proving himself amongst Super League's best young forwards. A pacey and mobile prop or second rower, Wood hits hard in defence and has a very fast play-the-ball. An Ince St Williams junior, he was a prolific try scorer in the Wolves Academy teams of 1999 and 2000 before establishing himself as a first team regular with 24 Super League appearances in 2001, whilst still a teenager. Having just signed a three year deal, Wood is a crucial figure in the Wolves' future and will be looking to kick start his international career in the end of season Tri Series.
Paul Wood: "I like it here and I am settled at Warrington, I would like to end my career here. It is a club that is definitely moving up and has the ability to win trophies and I want to be part of that."
Physical hooker who has an infectious competitive spirit, Clarke has become a popular personality around Warrington since signing for the club midway through 2001. A dedicated trainer in the gym, Clarke likes to use his power to inflict big hits in defence and has good hands and an underrated kicking game, making him an ideal cover option for either halfback positions or loose forward. Began his career with Wigan in 1997, he was taken to London by his former coach John Monie in 2000. Bitterly disappointed to have missed out on the playoff with Wigan last season through injury, he has been in impressive form in pre season.
Jon Clarke: "I am delighted to be staying at Warrington and continue to be part of a successful set up. It is definitely a club on the up."
Universally known as "The Beast", the big-hearted front-rower has overcome a series of injuries earlier in his career to become one of Super League's form props over the last two seasons. Strong driving the ball forward with a great work rate, Hilton is the Wolves' "hard yards" man. Made his debut aged 18 in 1993 and represented GB Academy, a succession of arm injuries interrupted his career and forced him to have a year out of the game in 2001. He returned to the club in 2002 playing Origin for Lancashire in 2002 and 2003, a near ever-present in the Wolves line up. With his injuries firmly behind him, Hilton celebrates his Testimonial in 2003 as a reward for a decade of wholehearted performances in the primrose and blue.
Mark Hilton: "I have committed to the Wolves for a further two years as I have always felt that I wanted to be a one club player and I never wanted to go anywhere else. With Paul Cullen here it feels like success is just around the corner.
"I'm glad Paul has negotiated contracts at this stage of the season and not at the end of the season, it gives players a knowledge of security and they can then go out and concentrate on their game and not worry about their future. Also by signing on a two/three year contact it provides the squad with a base stability that can be worked on and added to improve year after year, but insuring that there is a strong core."
Warrington-born back rower who made a successful return to his home town club in 2003 becoming an integral part of the team which made theplayoffs. "Wedge" is well known for his offloading and his ability toput runners through gaps whilst he is also a tireless tackler. He signed for Warrington in 1994 from Woolston Rovers, emerging in the successful Academy team of the era to become a first team regular before joining Salford in 2000, with whom he spent three seasons. Immensely proud in representing his home town club, Wainwright is set on playing out the rest of career in primrose and blue. Signing a new two year deal with coach Paul Cullen who said "his vision is now being matched with the physical and mental toughness required that should bring international recognition".
Mike Wainwright: "After finishing Top 6 last year and with the new signings that Paul has brought in this season there was no contest of going anywhere else. I want to extend my contract with the Wolves and ideally finish my playing career at my hometown team. Warrington is definitely a club who are going places with the new stadium and I feel that we will definitely be contenders for trophies and I want to be part of that."
Head Coach Paul Cullen commented on his plans, "This is the first phase of this season's contract negotiations, as we look to reward the players for their performances last year and this season so far. It will provide stability for the squad going forward. We are avoiding the September scramble and this allows them to fully concentrate on their performances to enable us to reach our goals. This process will be repeated when applicable."
Team News - Rounds 5 & 6
2. Brent Grose
18. Paul Noone
12. Ian Sibbit
4. Ben Westwood
25. Richard Varkulis
6. Lee Briers
7. Nat Wood
19. Gary Hulse
10. Mark Hilton
9. Jon Clarke
14. Mark Gleeson
16. Paul Wood
15. Jerome Guisset
11. Darren Burns
23. Mike Wainwright
13. Mike Forshaw
17. Warren Stevens
22. Danny Lima
2. John Wilshere fracture cheekbone sustained in Round 4 v London Broncos, expected to be out for 6-8 weeks
5. Graham Appo - hamstring injury sustained in Round 2 v Hull, tweaked in Round 4 v London Broncos rested as precaution
8. Chris Leikvoll - calf injury sustained in training prior to the Powergen Challenge Cup Round 5 v Oldham
20. Dean Gaskell thigh strain sustained in training