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Warrington Wolves rescue point but Tony Smith wants to see improvements
WOLVES boss Tony Smith cut a frustrated figure in the post-match press conference despite watching his side snatch a late draw during a tense finale at the DW Stadium.
While Lee Briers’ 77th minute drop goal might have ensured that Warrington returned home with a share of the points and their six-match unbeaten league run against Warriors in tact, Smith was disappointed more than satisfied by his side’s late rescue mission.
“A draw is ok, I’m not going to go home and kick the dog just yet,” he said.
“It was pleasing that we found a way not to lose it after we went behind, but I don’t think we controlled the game like we should have done.
“I thought they were better than us in the first half, they controlled the game and the speed of the play-the-ball much better than us on the ground.
“They were quicker when they had the ball and we were slower.
“They out-enthused us in the first half, but in the second we showed control for patches of the game as well.”
In a game littered with handling errors and frequent penalties, Wolves did well to find themselves ahead after minutes of the second half when Richie Myler produced a superb zig-zag run to beat three Warriors to the line.
A brace of first-half tries from Joel Monaghan had kept Wolves in touch after Wigan had gone ahead through Josh Charnley and Ben Flower, with the hosts good value for the 12-10 advantage at the break after a dominant first half performance.
Wolves, too, had their chance to craft a decisive lead in the second half when persistent penalty infringements threatened to break Wigan’s resolve, but Warrington’s usually sparkling attacking play never quite materialised during a performance that had all the hallmarks of one coming early in the long Super League season.
Not that this affected the spectacle, as the 20,050-strong crowd were treated to a brilliantly tense 17-17 finish thanks to the exchange of drop goals from Matty Smith and Briers in the final moments.
For Smith, however, a tense ending does not always mean a quality game.
“I thought it was intense, it definitely held the interest of everybody here because of the scoreline,” he said.
“I think I have seen better quality games in terms of skill and offload, but it was one of those real intense games and with almost 20,000 people it helped create atmosphere.
“It shows what we can do as a sport when we have competitive games, it would just be great to have those every week.”
But there were some positives to take from the match, not least the notion that Richie Myler may well be in for a big year after once again demonstrating that he can be lethal when taking on the line.
The combination of pace and nimble footwork from the scrum half left three Wigan players grasping at thin air, and Smith believes there may well be more of that to come from a player who will likely be fighting for a World Cup place at the end of the season.
“Richie is developing aspects of his game and he is becoming more of a threat not only as a team player and passer of the ball but also running with it,” he said.
“I think he finished the back end of last year like that, too.
“He is getting better and devloping aspects of his game and that is what we’re about at our place.
“We know individuals will and we know the team will get better as the year goes on.”
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