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Warrington Wolves boss Tony Smith gives update on squad's preparations for 2014 Super League season
WARRINGTON Wolves’ head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith is hopeful that he will have close to a fully fit first-team squad available to take on St Helens in the opening week of the 2014 Super League season.
Only forward Ben Harrison is unlikely to be fully recovered from hip and abdominal operations in time for Warrington’s Super League opener on February 13, with fellow rehab patients Simon Grix (elbow), Micky Higham, Chris Bridge (both knee), Richie Myler and Stefan Ratchford (both ankle) all on target to be healthy for Wolves’ trip to Australia in the new year.
“Everybody except Ben Harrison, providing they stay on track and don’t suffer any further injuries, should be fit for the opening game of the season,” said Smith “Ben’s recovery time is just longer due to the seriousness of the operation. He had it done as soon as possible after the season but it takes a long time to fully recover.”
Smith now has an almost full contingent of players huffing and puffing their way through pre-season training, although a handful are yet to make their return to Wolves’ Padgate training centre, having endured an extended season due to World Cup selection.
“We do not quite have everyone back in, we have a few international players still yet to return but most of the squad is back in training and going well,” said Smith.
“Guys who are in rehab are progressing well and everyone else has been ripping it up, as they tend to do at this time of year.
“Ben Currie was due back in next Monday, but he has actually joined us already as he was desperate to get back in. He felt like he has had enough time off, which is wonderful to see.
“Still to join us will be Chris Hill, Ben Westwood, Matty Russell and Roy Asotasi, who will be meeting up with the squad for the first time when we arrive in Australia.”
Smith has been heartened by the way all his players have ripped into pre-season in the past few weeks, though he did reserve special praise for a trio of players that have particularly impressed him so far.
“I think the squad as a whole is impressive, the levels have gone up again from this time last year,” he said.
“In terms of individuals who have caught the eye, winger Gene Ormsby is in great shape and I would like to think we’ll see him make a Super League debut this year.
“It depends on how he trials in the friendlies, but it is certainly looking promising at this stage.
“Glenn Riley has been terrific and Anthony England has been very good as well.
“They are probably the stand-outs so far, though that might be doing an injustice to several more guys in a very good group.”
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