Smith: Healthy respect for Leeds
Wolves' head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith reflects on their win over Bradford at the weekend and ahead to tomorrow's encounter with the Leeds Rhinos.
"It wasn't our slickest performance; we had some changes in personnel and different halfback combinations as well as some players returning to the fold. It gave them some game time and we gave a few of our players a chance to freshen up and rest some bumps and bruises that they've been carrying.
"Bradford were very spirited and tried really hard. We had a healthy lead at half time and they kept rallying right to the end and scored a couple of late tries."
As we enter the business end of the season the squad is approaching full fitness.
"We'll check out Richie Myler next week; I think it may be a bit too soon for him next week but he's out certainly for this week. Hopefully, Ben Harrison will return next week but Rhys Evans has a broken bone in his foot so he'll be out for a number of weeks. They are the only three - the rest are fit and healthy."
And on tomorrow's game against the current Champions he added: "We've had some great encounters with them over the last few years; some of which we've come out on top, some they have, so we are looking forward to it on Friday. A lot has been made of their injuries but they've still got a lot of significant players both internationals and former internationals; they've got a wealth of experience as well as some terrific young players which shows the depth that they've got at the club as well. Every team goes through those injury periods and Leeds are in theirs at the moment. We'll have a healthy respect for them come Friday."
On the unknown prospect of some of the Rhinos youngsters he said: "We'll have done our homework on most of the young guys coming through; many have played a number of weeks now so we'll be pretty well prepared."
A win tomorrow night would see the Wolves draw level at top spot but Tony insists the focus is simply on the game ahead.
"I don't think that's an issue for the players; they are concentrating on the game, where we finish they understand all comes down to how well you handle each week and each game that comes along. I think it's more other people talking about the league table rather than players and coaches; we will just concentrate our focus this week on Leeds."
And once again the team look forward to a packed house at the stadium.
"They (the fans) helped us enormously (against Wigan); I hope that we rewarded them they certainly helped us in the back end of the game and lifted us. It's great to have that support whether it's a Sunday afternoon, Friday night or a Monday, as we saw, the fans turn out to support us and we are grateful for that."
Warrington Wolves v Leeds Rhinos, Friday 5th July, 8pm, The Halliwell Jones Stadium
Warrington Wolves u19s v Leeds Rhinos u19s, Friday 5th July, 5.30pm, The Halliwell Jones Stadium
Match tickets are on sale in WolfWare, at WolfWare Online and on 08448 11 11 76 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm)
04, Jul, 2013