Written by Callum Walker
Despite being a household name for Warrington, Ben Westwood began his career at then-named Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, debuting in 1999 at the age of 17. In three seasons, Westwood registered 40 appearances in which he scored ten tries and kicked one goal.
A move to Warrington when Westwood was 20 years of age enabled the Normanton-born youngster to develop into a world-class star. Though operating as a winger or centre at the beginning of his career, Westwood’s move to the pack at the start of 2005 brought with it a great deal of success.
Westwood’s first taste of silverware came in the 2009 Challenge Cup as Warrington beat Huddersfield 16-25.
Before 2009, Wolves’ last win in the Challenge Cup came in 1974, and, for Ben Westwood it was an incredible moment.
He added another Challenge Cup winner’s medal the year after when the Wolves put Leeds to the sword, 6-30. Westwood and Warrington won their third Challenge Cup Final in four years in 2012 as the Wolves once more overcame Leeds this time 35-18.
After that, Westwood was involved in eight major finals with Warrington – six Super League Grand Finals and two Challenge Cup Finals – but lost all eight of them.
After becoming an established second rower, Westwood made 446 appearances for the Wolves – in making his 400th appearance in 2018, he became only the tenth person in Warrington history to do so – and scored 128 tries and kicked 83 goals in 17 seasons.
His performances for the Cheshire club over the years were rewarded with numerous call-ups for his national side. The forward appeared 26 times for England – his first cap coming in 2004 – scoring three tries and kicking five goals, whilst he also played one game for the England Knights.
LISTEN 🔊: @WarringtonRLFC ambassador @bennie_westwood spoke to @snellyradio on @bbcmerseyside earlier today after he handed out over 170 bacon, egg and sausage sandwiches to staff at @WHHNHS to help keep spirits high during the #coronavirus pandemic pic.twitter.com/QGhsxd2y4O
— BBC Merseyside Sport (@bbcmerseysport) April 27, 2020
Westwood appeared in four Super League Dream Teams, but failed to reach the Challenge Cup Final-winning squad in 2019 where the Wolves triumphed over St Helens.
Alongside his rugby league career, Westwood has been a significant contributor to the local community. He has helped to promote health, sport and educational projects to local residents at a wide variety of events and venues.
In 2009, the Yorkshire man assisted with an ‘Eat Well, Be Well’ project which has helped to highlight the health implications of fast food.
Continuing his work in promoting healthy eating, Ben took part in the Warrington Wolves ‘Wolf it Up’ project, taking time to visit local families and cook nominated healthy meals with them. Westwood has also committed a considerable amount of time to the ‘Eat Well, Be Well’ campaign, working with, and supporting the homeless in Warrington’s town.
A heartfelt member of the Warrington community, Westwood takes time to visit seriously ill supporters and their families who go through incredibly tough times. Ben is also a patron of the Shannon Bradshaw Trust, which raises money to help sick children and families throughout the North West.
A formidable forward, Westwood established himself as one of the most consistent players in the top flight, giving Warrington another attacking outlet out wide as well as providing the Wolves with some hard-hitting defence. At 6 ft 2 and over 16 stone, Westwood was a physical figure that regularly punched holes through the opposition defence. But, off the field, he is just as important for the Warrington club.