A FRESH Ben Westwood could be key to Warrington Wolves’ hopes of a productive second half to the campaign.
There is a possibility the joint- skipper will be fit for Magic Weekend, while boss Tony Smith also feels his youngsters can learn from Sunday’s opponents St Helens.
Westwood faces a fitness test in a bid to return after a calf tear, but Smith believes the forward’s lay-off could start to prove beneficial during Wolves’ run-in.
“We’re hoping he’s got a lot of rugby league left in his legs by the end of the season and is ready to rip it up,” said Smith.
“He’ll be doing everything in his powers to stay injury free and finish the season really strongly.
“The calibre of player Bennie is and the way he performs on a regular basis is there for everybody to see. He has been one of our most consistent players for a number of years now.
“He’ll be a boost to our squad but we won’t rush him, we’ll make sure he’s well and truly right and if he’s not he won’t play.
“We’re going to have a few players in that category. Whileit’s been a bit backs-to-the-wall with some of our more senior players being injured, at least they’ll have some of their fresh legs at the back end.
“Hopefully that’s where we’ll get an advantage that we probably missed early in the season.”
Wolves were beaten by Saints in Super League Round One but triumphed in this fixture last season, albeit against a young side who Smith says his team can draw comparisons with.
“Some of their young players are great to watch,” he added. “They’ve really come on and they’re the ones who probably benefited from going through some tough patches.
“They had some times when they had to rely on the young guys and they gained a whole lot of experience.
“With some of those young guys the long-term benefits are terrific for the club, but it hurts at the time when you’re going through that pain and suffering.”
As with Westwood, Richie Myler, shoulder, faces a fitness test this week, while Joel Monaghan should be available for selection despite being withdrawn in Friday’s win against Catalan Dragons with tightness in his upper leg.