Smith: Pose some challenges
Sponsored by: Cortech Developments
Catching up with head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith we look back at last weekend’s Cup victory and ahead to Sunday’s clash with the side from across the Pennines, Bradford.
“Whilst we weren’t up against a Super League team last week I thought we showed signs of defending well despite our opponents who were very courageous on the day and didn’t give up trying and did ask some questions of us. They did test us but I thought there were some improvements once again and I thought our skill level with the ball was very good. The improvement in weather has probably helped that as well - it’s gone up a level or two in training and I think we’ve been able to attack a little bit more like we used to and what we are used to seeing from Warrington teams in recent times. Hopefully that will keep on improving.”
Last weekend saw two debutants and also two senior players reaching the 150 appearance milestone.
“It’s great that we’ve got a good blend of youth and experience; it’s mixing that and getting that to gel together in team performances and they all did well last week. It was a great milestone for those senior players and a very memorable day for (Danny) Bridge and (Glenn) Riley in terms of making their first first-team appearances. I was pleased for both of those young boys - they took their chances very well. Glenn performed well enough to retain a position in the 17 this week, he’ll certainly get another run in first grade and I am delighted for him. He has worked very hard to overcome a couple of injuries and has also performed very well for Swinton and so has Danny Bridge; he has probably been the most consistent player for Swinton in terms of our young players who have gone over there.”
On assessing the current injury situation he added: “We didn’t pick up any further injuries (at the weekend) so we’ve just got our long-termers, but they are not too far off either. Young Rhys Evans could be back as early as next week if not the week after; Chris Bridge, Lee Briers and Adrian, it’s the two to three mark for all of them. Once we get those back and don’t pick any up in the meantime we will be pretty close. We were able to rest a few players last weekend and still put out a strong team so we are in pretty good shape at this stage.”
The team are expecting tough opposition in Bradford come Sunday afternoon.
“They are back up at the end of the competition that they prefer and they’ve managed to stabilise both on and off the field. They’ve put out pretty consistent performances and some of that will be down to having stability off the field, getting the whole thing in order. I think Francis Cummins has done a fantastic job as a young coach taking over, and even the fact that he has stepped up from assistant to head coach gives them some stability from within which I think is massively important for any club.
“We understand the challenges that they will bring to us but we also need to keep on improving and if we do progress in the way that we have over the last little while we will also pose challenges for them.”
Finally Tony looks to our partnership with Swinton and their upcoming game against Whitehaven at Leigh Sports Village on Thursday 2nd May, 7.30pm providing another great taste of our sport.
“It’s a great opportunity to get down there, see the game first hand and support some of our young boys and our partners as well. It’s a great opportunity and we are looking forward to it; as a coaching staff we are all going down for the evening. It’s been unfortunate that we’ve often played on the same day so we’ve not been able to go down and watch games first hand as much, it’s the same for the supporters, so I’d encourage everybody to go and get behind them. The partnership has been terrific for us and is working well for both clubs; not only with the progression of Glenn Riley and Danny Bridge but also in honing the skills of Gaz O’Brien, Tyrone McCarthy and a couple of more senior when need. It’s the next best competition after Super League so we are in a good position to develop our players in the best possible way.”
Warrington Wolves v Bradford Bulls, Sunday 28th April, Kick-off 3pm
Match tickets are on sale in WolfWare, at WolfWare Online and on 08448 11 11 6 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm)
26, Apr, 2013