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Warrington Wolves 'no weaker' for enforced pack changes, says Tony Smith
WOLVES will not be any weaker for the loss of their pack stars and will look to improve their left-side defence for the trip to Hull, says Tony Smith.
Warrington’s head of coaching and rugby dismissed concerns that the loss of captain Adrian Morley to a bicep tear and Ben Westwood to a one-match ban would significantly weaken a pack already missing loose forward Ben Harrison through injury.
“We have some tremendous young players waiting for their opportunities and they are very capable as well,” said Smith.
“Ben Currie, Tyrone McCarthy and James Laithwaite have been ready, waiting and eager for their chance and have played a reasonable amount of Super League, so maybe one or all of them will get an opportunity this week.”
Smith is likely to name an unchanged halves combination of Richie Myler and Stefan Ratchford following the admission that veteran stand off Lee Briers will miss Saturday’s 5.45pm kick off at the KC Stadium, with Wolves’ playmaker not ‘recovering as well as we would have liked’ from the neck and shoulder injuries that kept him out of Wolves’ 24-16 victory against Catalan Dragons.
It also looks likely that Smith will keep faith in Chris Riley after the 24-year-old’s left wing position was targeted with great success by Dragons, and he was quick to point out that it is not just the winger who is guilty of making some early season defensive mistakes.
“We need to come up with some better defence on that left-hand side of the field,” he said.
“I think it is there for most people to see that Chris is not quite on top of his defensive game, but he and the people around him are working hard to rectify some of that.
“What I will say about Chris is that some of his attack has been absolutely fantastic, so while there is an aspect of his game that is not quite where it needs to be, he has kicked on in other areas.
“We will work through the aspects he needs to address. He is working hard to improve and I’m confident he will do that.”
Second row Trent Waterhouse has also flagged up defence in preparations for Super League round four.
He said: “We have really worked hard on the defence off our line this week. I’m confident we’ll sort it out.”