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Smith 'over the moon' with victory at Saints
WHAT a difference a fortnight can make.
Wolves shrugged off the disappointment of defeat to Widnes Vikings with a hard-fought 29-16 victory against Saints at Langtree Park, looking a different side to the one that fumbled their way around The Halliwell Jones Stadium two weeks ago.
Two points and a definite second-place finish in the Super League table were Warrington's reward on the night, while their performance suggested to head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith that they were prepared for the tough play-off stages to come.
“We are over the moon, that is as good a win as we have had in a long, long time,” he said.
“To overcome all that we had to overcome tonight was incredible.
“Saints really came to the party and had a real crack at us.
“I thought at half time it was a bit flattering for them to be within 12 of us, but after the break they had a real crack.
“They had all the possession and we couldn’t get hold of the ball, but I am over the moon with the way our boys handled that sort of adversity and stood up to it.
“It was a good, tough game of rugby league and I’m glad we toughed it out.”
Wolves hit the ground running with four tries in the opening 25 minutes from Joel Monaghan, Rhys Evans, Micky Higham and Trent Waterhouse, playing with an intensity that Saints struggled to contain in the opening half hour.
Saints fought back after Wolves’ initial dominance, building on a late brace of tries in the first half to test the visitor’s nerve and line defence to the limit after the break.
Jonny Lomax dragged the hosts to within six points having been 22-0 down, but Lee Briers' 66th minute drop goal stretched Warrington's lead to seven before Garreth Carvell chased down a late grubber to seal the result.
But while the players' performance left Smith with little to complain about, he did express frustration with inconsistency around the ruck.
“We are a bit miffed at the moment, we don’t what we can and can’t do at the ruck area,” said Smith.
“We are really confused as a club, it is just different all the time.
“The differences between individuals officiating, that is the confusing thing about it.
“Things that are happening to us weren’t happening the other way.
“But that is why we are so pleased for toughing it out, whether it was going out way or getting a fair call or not.”
Wolves came through the match unscathed and looking in good shape for the approaching play-offs, in which they will meet either Leeds or Wigan at The Halliwell Jones Stadium.
“We are looking to find some consistency heading into the finals,” said Smith.
“It was a good marker for the the play-offs, that type of rugby league.
“We have watched Kevin Sinfield do that for years now, kick the ball over the dead ball line, kick it long and turn your opponents around.
“And show some flair with some kicks near the line, that was a big thing for us tonight.
“Not trying to barge over all the time with spectacular play, but play the conditions and the rules and we did that."
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