Smith: A good tough game
University of Chester student Daniel Fearnley catches up with Wolves' head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith to discuss this week's preparations as he knows his side will have to be at their best this weekend against Hull FC at The Halliwell Jones Stadium.
So what can we expect from the team from Humberside?
"A good, tough game I'd suggest. They've got a good pack of forwards with a lot of experience there and some good young, athletic backs. They'll be a good test. We'll have to be good this week. Hopefully we can keep in good form. They're in some decent form themselves so it should be a good fixture."
Smith is also preparing his side to deal with Hull FC star Gareth Ellis, who he used to coach during his spell at Leeds Rhinos.
"Gaz could cause problems for anybody, anywhere in the world. He's a class player, a terrific player and a good leader as well. He's had some leadership qualities for many years so it's great to see him back and he's been a big boost for Hull FC. He's only one of the players who we'll have to keep an eye on. They've got a good healthy squad themselves so it should be a really good contest from both teams."
Tony has also commented on the health of his squad leading up to tomorrow night's game.
"It's pretty good really, but on the negative side we've got Brett Hodgson who won't be right for this week. He's got a little bit of an issue with his knee so we'll keep him out; not for a long period of time but he won't be there this week. We'll have a couple returning hopefully; Rhys Evans could be fit and available for selection along with Adrian Morley, which is great news. We have a couple, Ben Harrison and Chris Bridge, who probably won't be right for this week so we're sort of mixed on it but having Lee Briers back is also a big boost to us in terms of people returning so we're not in too bad of a shape."
Commenting on Lee's return to first-team action last week Tony said: "It's good. We've coped pretty well without him but it's nice to have him back. He's a quality player but I think the days are gone when if Briers isn't playing we can't cope and that's a good thing. However, it's great to have him bolster our depth in competition for places and it's probably timely with the injury to Brett; hopefully Lee can come in and fill a void there that we may well have missed."
As part of the team's preparations for Friday's game, they had a training session at local amateur club Culcheth Eagles yesterday. The Wolves' boss had this to say about the importance of these sessions.
"It's very important. We feel very strongly about it and it's probably an area that we've not been as strong as we needed to be in the past. But rather than dwell on the past we're trying to improve those connections with our local and amateur clubs. With the support that they give us, we need to go back and do some things for them. We also get a lot of benefits out of it in terms of keeping our players appreciative of the support that they get. It also keeps them grounded, when they see the people who they are representing in their own town. It's nice for some of the local boys to go back to their home clubs and to give a bit back as well. It's important that we take care of our local area and give something back."
And looking ahead to the magic of next weekend Tony explains how important it is to have the support of as many fans as possible at the Etihad.
"It will be fantastic if we turn out in numbers and we've shown before that we've really outnumbered just about everybody. We look forward to it. They (the fans) turn it into a home game for us. It's just down the road but if people can turn out for us it will be great. We appreciate it and I think we lift when that happens. Hopefully we can do that again and do a good job as well."
Warrington Wolves v Hull FC tomorrow night, Friday 17th May, 8pm at The Halliwell Jones Stadium. Tickets are available from WolfWare Online, the WolfWare shop at the stadium or by calling 08448 11 11 76.
16, May, 2013