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Warrington Wolves boss Tony Smith highlights the areas his team needs to improve
TONY Smith said Warrington Wolves got burned against St Helens in the areas of kicking and ruck play.
But Wolves’ head of coaching and rugby has no doubts there will be improvement week by week, hoping that Saints’ speed of play-the-balls will give his players something to learn from.
He also felt that there was not much between the teams in a first half in which Saints established a 20-4 lead, and it was after the break that the visitors showed superiority before running out 38-8 victors.
“Our kicking game was right up there with one of the worst we’ve had for a while,” he opened with in the post-match press conference.
“It was way off and I thought we got ‘outkicked’ that’s for sure.
“And around the ruck area we weren’t that great.”
He explained that he had seen Saints suffer similar difficulties at the point of contact in their friendly against Wigan Warriors a few weeks earlier.
“Wigan played way too quick for Saints and they got bashed up in that area,” said Smith.
“I think that did Saints a huge favour and hopefully if we use it the right way Saints may have done us a favour in that respect because they were a whole different team on this occasion in terms of handling the speed of the play-the-balls and getting quick play-the-balls against us.”
Smith went on to say that he thought the 20-4 first half scoreline did not reflect the competitive nature of the opening period, and he questioned the video referee decision to allow Kyle Amor’s try to stand – a punishing score that gave the visitors clear daylight.
“I thought in the first half both teams competed pretty well,” he said.
“There wasn’t much between us, maybe a little bit in the scoreline. I’ll have to look at that video referee decision again to slow it down and see what’s gone on with the double movement for Kyle Amor.
“Somebody told me they judged that he was still moving. Must have been his little toe I think aside from his arm and elbow hitting the ground. I’ll have to brush up on that rule.
“But no, I didn’t think there was much between us in the first half.
“St Helens were good when they had the ball and I thought we troubled them when we had the ball in that first half.
“Second half, I thought they were way better than us.
“We had too much panic and were chasing the game instead of having some patience and grafting out a win or a performance.
“So that was a bit of a kick in the backside for us.”
He accepted his side was rattled at 18-4.
“Yeah, chasing the game rather than grafting it out and sticking with it,” he said.
“This time of the year it’s difficult to offload, rally round and throw miracle balls and pop passes out that put people under pressure.
“That’s not the way to go about it. We knew what we wanted to do but we just didn’t have the self discipline to do that at times and paid a price.
“And I thought Saints were terrific. They got on a roll and did all those little things very well and deserved their win.”