TONY Smith said Warrington Wolves had to win ‘ugly’ against Salford Red Devils after struggling to find their normal flow at The Halliwell Jones Stadium.
The win made it seven on the bounce for Smith’s side, but Wolves’ head of coaching and rugby admitted they were not quite on their game in Super League Round 17.
“That’s what it was today, ugly, but we got there,” he said. “I thought that first 20 minutes were way off, some signs that we weren’t quite on our game.
“To their credit the players realised that and fixed a bit of it up in the first half, but went out there in the second half and it was hard to get flowing in that game.
“It was, in their opinions, a very frustrating game, earlier in the season we probably wouldn’t have come up with a ‘W’ in that sort of circumstance but this time we did and I thought most of the time our defence was very good.
“We had a lapse where we allowed a dive over try from dummy half, I haven’t seen one of those for weeks and weeks from us – two from kicks which doesn’t please us, we clocked off before the last plays.”
Smith felt Salford boss Iestyn Harris had implemented a style witnessed during his time at Wigan, but that Wolves were able to deal with it well.
“Some of those Wigan-type plays we handled very well and we’re off the mark there,” he added.
Smith is also confident the win is a sign of how far Wolves have come since the beginning of the campaign.
“There’s more about us defensively, we probably would have conceded another couple of dummy half barge-overs and made it even tighter or maybe even lost those sort of slip ups, but we certainly weren’t in full flow.
“The signs were there early, whether it’s the heat or as I’ve said it before many a time, a team can’t be at their best every week.
“You’re going to have some flat weeks where you’re not ripping out the grass and today was that for us, hopefully that will be a bit of a wake-up call to get back into gear for next week.
“We’re not down, we’re real about these things. There wasn’t a lack of effort, that’s for sure, some days are flat, you get out of bed and it’s not quite there.”
The Wolves boss also suggested the heat played its part on his charges.
“It’s a pretty tough game to play in those conditions,” he explained. “It’s tough to watch, bit more sunscreen on at half time!
“You go out there and play in those conditions you’re bound not to be very fluent all the way through and sometimes it’s a bit of an accumulation of intense games as well, that you have a bit of flatness.
“There wasn’t a lack of trying there, we’re off our best but we’ll go and look at some of that and a kick up the backside for us.”