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Warrington Wolves working hard to put Widnes defeat behind them
WARRINGTON Wolves have been ‘ripping in’ ready to return to winning ways against bitter rivals St Helens at Langtree Park on Friday, kick off 8pm.
The shock 16-6 defeat to ‘derby’ rivals Widnes Vikings two weeks ago is still fresh in the memories, but Warrington’s head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith is confident that the fortnight break has allowed his players to come back refreshed and ready to mount their final assault on the play-offs.
“We said we needed to recharge and regroup and that has gone well,” said Smith, whose side will be eager not to fall to their second ‘derby’ defeat in as many games after they ended their club record 10-match winning run with defeat to Vikings at The Halliwell Jones Stadium.
“We were obviously disappointed with that performance, but as is the case with all our games – win or lose – we analyse them, learn from them and head back on to the field better for the experience.
“After the last defeat the players have had a few days off, so it was an unwelcome break that we turned into a welcome break.
“They have since rolled their sleeves up and really ripped in again ahead of Friday’s match – they’re in good shape.”
But Wolves are not the only team feeling like they are in good shape at the moment, as Saints’ recent run of five consecutive wins makes them the form team in the competition behind league leaders Huddersfield Giants.
Having struggled through an injury-hit start to the season that resulted in them sitting outside of the play-off spots, Saints have slowly welcomed back important players like Willie Manu, Jonny Lomax and, most recently, Sia Soliola throughout the year.
Smith reckons they have built up a head of steam as a result, beating Wigan and Catalan on their way to fifth spot in the table.
“They have got some players back after having some injury issues earlier this year and I think that they have enjoyed some good performances recently,” he said.
“I wouldn’t say that they are hitting their straps, but they have been a lot better lately and that is due a lot to having some bodies back and being able to play their guys in the positions that best suit them.”
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