Smith Previews Wolves Clash

Smith Previews Wolves Clash

Tony Smith hopes his young squad can make up can make up for their lack of experience with enthusiasm on Friday evening.

Club News

Tony Smith hopes his young squad can make up can make up for their lack of experience with enthusiasm on Friday evening.

The Black & Whites take on Warrington in Betfred Super League Round Two action, but do so with a severely depleted squad with at least 14 players unavailable through injury and suspension.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Smith said: “We’ve got to get out there and play to what we can and stick to the plan. Against Wigan in pre-season, we completed our first eight sets of the match and gave ourselves a chance to go toe to toe with one of the best teams in the competition.

“But we didn’t do that in Round One. We just didn’t get a foothold into that first twenty minutes of the game. We had Herman in the sin-bin and we had already made a couple of errors that were pressure releases for our opponents.

“We went about it all in the wrong way. It’s difficult to build pressure when you’re down to 12 men against your arch-rivals on your own turf, it’s hard to throw a whole lot at them until you get 13 on 13. That had an influence. It was important and it was self-inflicted and it hurts you. It can have a big influence on the match.”

With the Black & Whites suffering from an extensive list of injuries and suspensions going into the game, Smith will be relying on some of his younger stars to step up to the plate at the Halliwell Jones Stadium on Friday.

“The good thing for us from last week was that our reserve grade has a training game against Hull KR. Some of them performed really well. They had a good hit out so that helps them get ready for this, they didn’t know at the time, but some of them are now going to get called upon this week.

“That’s what they’re trying to do, get into the first-team, and they’ve got the opportunity this week. Hopefully, they’ll bring that enthusiasm to match Warrington’s experience. Sometimes you can have young guys out there and they make up for their lack of experience with the enthusiasm they bring to the table and the desire to get into the team. That’s what we’re hopeful for this week.”

On the Wolves, he continued: “They’re very enthusiastic. They run hard. They try to play the ball quickly and play it on their terms. They troubled Catalans for periods of time and Catalans, they’re a good team and they wear you down, they’re a big team, and once they get in front, they get a stranglehold on you, particularly in France and with their conditions and their support, it’s quite influential.

“They didn’t get the win but they were never out of it. They fought really hard over there. Sam (Burgess) didn’t get a win in his first match but that’s not to say he’s not having an influence and they won’t learn from that and toughen up and get harder and stronger and more formidable.

“They’ll be more determined this week. I know Sam and I think he’ll make a terrific coach. I know he’ll be riding on his team to get better so we’ve got to go over there and get better ourselves, focus on what we can bring to the table. We understand some of what they are capable of, that’s for sure, but that’s not to say that we can’t go over there and compete with them.

“They’re a class outfit and they’ve got a new coach who they are trying to impress and who are trying to play to the ways he is instilling in them. They weren’t far off in Catalans. It’s hard to go down to Catalans and perform well. There wasn’t much in it and it’s going to be tough. They’re going to be hurting from last week, we’re going to be hurting from last week, but we’ve got to worry about ourselves and get that enthusiastic performance out there.”