Smith hails Westwood and Monaghan as Wolves charge into play-off semi finals (From Warrington Guardian)
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Smith hails Westwood and Monaghan as Wolves charge into play-off semi finals
BENNIE Westwood was the cat that got the cream after his four-try play-off romp against Leeds Rhinos, said Wolves boss Tony Smith.
Better known for his grunt-work in defence and line-busting runs, Wolves’ second rower deservedly received the accolades from fans and coaches alike as he led Wolves into the play-off semi finals courtesy of a 40-20 win against the reigning champions at The Halliwell Jones Stadium.
“Ben Westwood was great,” said Smith.
“It was good for him to get some of the accolades.
“He works his cotton socks off every week and you know how much I admire him.
“I think a lot of people do, he is rough and tough and he does a lot of the hard work and doesn’t usually get some of the spoils.
“Today he got them, he got some of the cream and he put a cherry on top, I’m delighted for him.”
Westwood’s haul may have allowed him to rise to the top and scoop the man-of-the-match award, but ultimately it was difficult to pick Wolves’ star performer in what was an excellent team showing.
Lee Briers controlled the game and his kicking was superb, landing a 40/20 and assisting several tries with delicate grubbers, but Michael Monaghan would have ran them both close with his performance at hooker.
“That was Michael Monaghan’s best game all year,” said Smith.
“He was terrific.
“I thought Micky was great before he came off, not just attacking but with a lot of the defensive work, but Monas came on and really took advantage of some situations.”
Leeds fans may have believed that Briers was lucky to be on the field following a punch thrown at Carl Ablett in the first half, but Smith was not convinced.
“You don’t like to see it but sometimes players take things into their own hands if they don’t think things are being dealt with in the right respect,” he said.
“You have to defend yourself, that is my reading of it.”
The hosts added to Westwood’s haul through Ryan Atkins, Simon Grix and Lee Briers to secure only their second play-off win against Rhinos, earning them a chance to select their opponents at Super League’s Clubcall on September 22.
Smith is hoping that his side can carry the form they showed against last year’s Grand Final winners intothe semi final, which is likely to be against the lowest ranked winners of next week’s games going off his opinion on Super League’s Clubcall system.
“I’ll leave the decision to someone else, I have no preference and I am not going to participate,” he said.
“I would rather it be automatic, which means we would get the lowest ranked winner from the second week of the finals.
“I don’t want to do anything to motivate someone else.
“How has it worked so far?
“The team that gets picked has a pretty good record of beating the team that picked them.
“At this stage of the year you don’t want to give any motivation to anyone.
“If they make me go and make me participate then I’ll be happy to toss a coin.”
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