Smith: Dangerous team
Wolves' head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith reflects on last weekend's defeat at the hands of Leeds Rhinos and ahead to this weekend's match against Wakefield. He also touches on recent injury news, Dwyer's loan spell with the Giants and looks ahead to the next chapter in this season's campaign.
Last week's replay of the Grand Final didn't quite reach the heights expected going into the game.
"Certainly not from our perspective - and probably not from Leeds either - but feedback from a lot of people for the neutral it was an entertaining game and I suppose because of the closeness of the score at times I think it (will have) attracted people to the game. But for us it wasn't so enjoyable; it was a little frustrating as we didn't play to our ability particularly in the first half. I thought Leeds deserved a healthy lead and maybe even more of one in the first half than what they ended up with. In the second half I thought we improved a whole lot. We probably didn't get as much out of the second half as we would have liked however I think Leeds were the worthy winners on the evening overall. I thought they played better than us and certainly deserved their victory. For us it was a little bit of a kick up the backside that we probably needed and hopefully over the next few weeks we can take some lessons from that game and apply them; that's what we are working hard on in training this week."
On how the team came through the match at Headingley he added: "Just a couple of bumps and bruises. We'll run our eye over a couple of people but we should be okay, possibly even have Chris Bridge back this week as well. We'll assess one or two people as well and confirm that by the end of the week."
Following the Leeds game Tony commented on how the return of Lee Briers is also on the horizon. "On the weekend it was one of those games when we could have done with Lee's kicking game, although he's not there at the moment and we need to take control of that ourselves. Having someone of Lee's quality and experience coming back in the next little while will be great. He won't be with us playing this weekend as he needs to do a bit more work; he hasn't had as much physical contact training-wise as he needs so we need to get him up to speed on that and then he'll get given the green light. Hopefully that may well be as close as the Keighley game."
This weekend will see the team on the road at Wakefield and Tony is expecting another tough encounter with the Wildcats.
"They are a very dangerous team. Anybody who has seen them play this year has seen that danger. We need to be very good defensively; lately we've been a little bit loose but we'll be tested in that area this week particularly on their patch as well. It's a good test for us. We've sat down, had some talks and done some hard training this week so hopefully we can get on top of some of the things we need to do defensively. They've got some smart attacking players and they are a team that try hard each and every week."
Now over a third of the way through the season we can expect league table positions to be tested.
"What you usually find is the form starts to sort itself out over the next little while. Easter is a tough period for teams; there's certainly been quite a few teams looking for loan players and the depth of squads is being tested at this time for the year. Over the next little while we can hopefully hit some form and start to get some consistency about ourselves and that's usually the case for a lot of teams after the Easter period. You need to be on your mettle each and every week and that's what we're striving for at the moment."
Staying on the same vein Brad Dwyer has joined Huddersfield on a month's loan which will provide valuable experience for the young hooker.
"It's good for Brad and will be good for us in the long-term. His chances are being limited at the moment because we've got two very good hookers ahead of him. He probably had a bit of a slow start to the season but he's coming into some form at the moment and there's a club that's in a position to use a hooker, and use him immediately. It's hard sometimes to hold some of these young guys back when they've got the opportunity for some Super League experience. It will help him in the long run and us as well, so we wish him well."
Match tickets are on sale for Sunday's trip to Wakefield, available in WolfWare, at WolfWare Online and on 08448 11 11 76 (Mon- Fri 9am-5pm),
Coach travel is also available from WolfWare priced at £13.50 adult and £11.50 junior. Coaches will leave Dallam Lane at 1pm.
11, Apr, 2013