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Tony Smith refuses to blame injuries for Grand Final heartache
9:32pm Saturday 5th October 2013 in Wolves news
WARRINGTON Wolves boss Tony Smith refused to blame the disruption caused by the loss of two key outside backs for the second half capitulation against Wigan.
Wolves were 16-2 ahead when they lost wing Joel Monaghan just before the break with concussion and then fell behind for the first time after losing Stefan Ratchford ten minutes into the second half with ankle ligament damage.
Although unhappy with the tackle on Ratchford, Smith believed his side still had enough quality players on the park to see the job through – but cited field position and discipline as the cause of their downfall.
Smith said: “Who can tell whether injuries were a factor? It was disruptive, of course, and you hope to be able to handle those sorts of situations but we were unable to do so tonight.
“I think the second half field position hurt us more than any positional changes. We still had good personnel there but just having to defend our own line was tough when Wigan are fantastic at scoring close to the line.
“The McIlorum and Green tries showed how very good Wigan are 10-15 metres out.
“Field position and discipline were big issues. We got smashed with field position and the penalties were 7-2 in the second half and you just can’t do that to Wigan because they are too good.
“They were too good tonight and deserved to win on the back of that field position.
“To do double this year they deserve their accolades.”
Smith, however, was less than complimentary about the tackle that did for Ratchford when Wigan second row Harrison Hansen appeared to attack the leg of the Wolves full back.
“Ratchford is no good – he has ligament damage in possibly one or both ankles.
“I don’t like it – those sorts of tackles have been around for years and we just tap people on the wrists about it. That’s why it still happens.
“Sometimes players get injured from it, more than others. That is what our players have to put up with and we don’t protect them enough. It is sad that a player is injured in that way.”
Smith revealed that Joel Monaghan was concussed as a result of getting his head on the wrong side in the tackle just before the break.
“Joel will have a scan tonight – he has had a pretty heavy concussion and out for a considerable amount of time and is getting taken care of by the best people available who are doing everything possible to get him rushed in to where he needs scanning.
“We are grateful to our opposition doctor Brooksy in that respect.
“It is more concussion the issue because he was out for a considerable amount of time, no sign of spinal issues,” Smith said.
Warrington rattled in three quick-fire tries in the first half and looked set to go in comfortably ahead the break, but were pegged back by a Darrell Goulding try a minute before half time.
It was an opening 40 minutes that the Wolves boss was happy with, but then it began to unravel.
Smith said: “We had a great first half and were dominant. Our defence was committed and fantastic in that first half.
“We were disappointed at conceding after Joel was stretchered off because we had enough time to regain our composure but they put on a quality play.
“Our first half was very good – and until we did not field a kick properly we were on 100 per cent completion, which is ludicrous for us because we are usually way off.
“In the second half field position was the biggest factor, more than injuries, that was the biggest factor.
“Wigan were relentless in what they did and kept banging up the middle and came up with a few good plays that hurt us.”
Smith vowed that his Wolves would be fighting to be back again next year and expressed his pride in the players that have worn primrose and blue this term.
“I am really proud of my boys, we have had another fantastic season,” he said.
“In the time that I have been here would we have predicted five years ago that we will be at Old Trafford two years running, but I would rather be here having lost than not be here at all.
“We are in there competing and we will be competing next year. I can’t guarantee I’ll be here as a victorious or losing coach, but we will be determined to come back here and if we keep competing we will get it right at some stage. We will keep working.”
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