A few months ago Josh Drinkwater had big plans for Catalans Dragons – now he is plotting their downfall.
The Australian half-back appeared integral to the French side having played an influential role in their successes of recent years.
He helped Steve McNamara’s men to their historic maiden Challenge Cup triumph in 2018 before returning after a brief stint at Hull KR to feature in their run to the 2021 Super League Grand Final.
Having settled nicely in Perpignan, he also had high hopes for more silverware last season until things came to an abrupt halt in the autumn.
The 30-year-old unexpectedly found himself out of the side as the Dragons’ campaign petered out and ended in anticlimax with a first-round play-off defeat by Leeds.
Despite having a year remaining on his contract he then was deemed surplus to requirements as coach McNamara decided to revamp his squad.
The result of that was an unexpected move to Warrington, who were carrying out their own rebuilding job after a dismal 2022.
Although his focus is now firmly on the Wolves, Drinkwater admits he was hurt by the way his Dragons exit was handled and that April’s return trip to face them was the first fixture ringed on his calendar.
“Anyone that says when they play their old team that they don’t have extra incentive is a liar,” said Drinkwater. “Round eight at Catalans – I can’t wait. That’s one thing I looked at.
“I felt like I was pretty good for that club and played some good footy for them.
“At the time I was a little disappointed with how it went down. The coach decided that he wanted to go in a different direction and didn’t want me there anymore.
“At the time it was hard to take. I thought I probably deserved a little bit more respect from him but it’s all done now.”
Drinkwater is part of a major squad refresh at the Halliwell Jones Stadium as coach Daryl Powell looks to prove he is the man that can finally shake off the club’s tag as Super League’s great underachievers.
Powell’s first season at the helm was a near-calamity as the Wolves’ form fell off a cliff and the side flirted with relegation before finishing a lowly 11th.
To turn the situation around he is entrusting Drinkwater to form a dynamic partnership with George Williams, operating behind a pack revitalised – and bulked up – by the arrivals of Sam Kasiano, Gil Dudson, Josh McGuire and Paul Vaughan.
The responsibility of leading the attack is something Drinkwater is relishing and those ambitions he had for Catalans have been quickly transferred to his new club.
He said: “Once I knew I was coming to Warrington things changed pretty quickly because I was coming to such a good club. I was very, very excited get across here.
“This is as a pretty good team on paper. We’ve got everything we need to succeed.
“Obviously for a half-back there is pressure but, to be honest, I enjoy that, I embrace it.
“I want to win a competition – Super League – and I think I’m at the a club where I can do that.”