WOLVES fell to their third home defeat of 2014 against Hull Kingston Rovers in front of a Halliwell Jones Stadium crowd that dropped below 9,000 for the first time since 2009. Across four home games Wolves have managed only 42 points, compared to an average 31 points per match last year. In light of fan disgruntlement and a much-changed Wolves squad starting out with double the number of losses of the previous four seasons, sports editor Mike Parsons asks head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith for his assessment of the performance so far. Is he getting what he expected from his men? Here's his response.
“WE are where we deserve to be at the moment,” said Tony Smith, now in his sixth year at the helm of Warrington Wolves.
“There are no guarantees in sport. It’s great that we have a great following and I understand fans getting hopes up and expectations because of what we’ve done previously.
“But each year is a new year. We’ve got a different team every year and all we can guarantee as sports people is that we work hard and do our best every time.
“Some days it goes well for you but some days it’s not as good. Unfortunately we’ve had a few that haven’t been as good at home but there’s no lack of effort.
“We’re a different team to what we’ve been in other years. It’s about working the combinations and if those combinations work well we’ll play well. And while we’re feeling our way, sometimes it doesn’t just gel.
“But it’s not through lack of effort, there’s nobody playing within themselves. If anything, when sometimes things don’t just flow, players can try too hard to make things happen and I think we’ve been guilty of that at times.
“The players are trying their hardest. Some of them haven’t been in their best form to start with but some of them are coming up through their best form.
“I’m happy to talk about Ryan Atkins in that regard, Stefan Ratchford and Richie Myler as well.
“Richie was terrific at the weekend, Stefan had probably his best game of the season and Ryan certainly did.
“The last two weeks Ryan has been very good, whereas he started the season a little bit slowly without any intention of it being that way.
“Richie’s first few games of the season probably weren’t the strongest of his career but he’s working through it. The players are all working hard and hopefully we’ll get the form that we’re all looking for through that hard work.
“It takes a little bit of time for some, and it’s about keeping the faith and being supportive.
“It’s nice when everything goes well, but it’s when things aren’t really going well or not quite falling into place that it’s about sticking with people, putting faith in them and supporting them in the right manner.
“Sometimes we’ve got to do that as coaches, but also as supporters. It’s very easy to follow the team when everything’s going well, it’s when you’re going through some of the leaner times or when a team is finding itself that you find out how good your support is.
“That’s something Warrington fans have been good at. They’ve had some tough times over the years and keep right behind the team. That’s one of the things that I admire about the support for Warrington.
“We’re trying to perform as best we can. My concerns are about making sure that I can get the best out of the players, sticking with them, having faith in them, giving them the confidence and doing the hard work that’s required to win rugby league games.
“We’ve got a very healthy respect for all our opponents and there’s some very good teams in Super League.
“Whether you are home or away, you’ve got to play your best rugby league to win games.
“We’re not focusing any harder on away games or home games, we try hard in every one of them and none of them are more important than others.
“We’d love to get some more home victories as well as more away victories and that’s what we keep striving for.”