Smith: Great Rivalry
Head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith reflects on last weekend's game, the injury situation and England selections as well as giving his thoughts ahead of tomorrow's clash with St Helens.
"Last week it was very spirited from them (Hull KR) and we expected that but didn't handle it as well as we would have liked. We hung in there against a very spirited effort in the first half and went in with the lead but we really needed to lift and kick-on, had we done that we may have controlled the game a bit better than we ended up doing. They gained a bit of ascendancy by the end of the game and came home really strong, credit to them but disappointing from our side of things. We've worked hard this week and looked at the game; we usually respond pretty well to some of the harder lessons and we will certainly take some from that game."
The early part to the season has seen the side pick up a number of injuries but Tony says things are looking up.
"There have been a lot of improvements in the fact that we didn't pick any new injuries up last week which is fantastic and we may have gained three back: Michael will definitely be okay for Friday night, Joel we think more than likely and Chris Bridge came through his first hit-out of the year too, so there's three in the positive this week which is the first that that's been the case. Trent's still out, he's strained his glute area which will probably keep him out for a couple of weeks, whether he makes it back for the Salford game I'm not sure but he won't be far off that one if he doesn't."
Another player milestone is set to be reached tomorrow evening with Ryan Atkins making his 100th appearance in primrose and blue.
"This is fantastic for Ryan. I enjoy coaching him and have enjoyed watching him develop. He's always been a big, fast, athletic young player but now he's working on developing his skills and has certainly improved over the years that I have watched him. He is a big asset to the club and a big part of our team. I look forward to watching and coaching his next 100! He's that sort of player, very responsive to coaching and sets himself high standards so is a pleasure to coach. Let's hope he can celebrate with a good team performance on the weekend."
Looking ahead to the derby with neighbours St Helens tomorrow Tony said: "We've had some great rivalries against Saints, the fans and atmosphere have been fantastic as well. There's a lot of rivalry between the two clubs which usually brings out the best in the teams and hopefully that will be the case this week. Both teams are probably looking for some form and consistency, hopefully a big occasion of playing each other will help that. I think it will be a very hard-fought, tough game - at this stage of the year that's the way Rugby League's got to be played. Hopefully we'll come out on the right side of a good performance."
And on the England Elite selections earlier this week.
"I think it shows some consistency from last year. There's some carry-over of our players who have built themselves up to that sort of stature within the international scene. I'd even like to think we'll have more in there come the end of the year which would also be a show of our consistency if we can develop that. Many congratulations to the individuals involved and we'll be pushing hard to produce more in the future."
Warrington Wolves v St Helens, Friday 8th March, 8pm, The Halliwell Jones Stadium
Tickets on sale in WolfWare, at WolfWare Online and on 08448 11 11 76
07, Mar, 2013