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Warrington Wolves players using friendlies to fight for Super League place
Wolves got some valuable training done in Australia, but it will be in the friendlies that players stake a claim for Super League places
WOLVES players must use the friendlies against Leigh Centurions and Salford Red Devils to stake claims for starting spots against St Helens in round one of the First Utility Super League season.
Head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith said the trip to Australia had been useful to gauge combinations and team options but it will be during these competitive matches that final decisions will be made.
“We have had 13-on-13 games against each of the NRL teams and I’ve been able to look at some combinations and players through the three weeks,” he said.
“But we also have two friendlies coming up and they’ll help as well.
“It will be down to who performs in these two games that determines who will start against St Helens.
“But we are going to have to use lots of different combinations over the course of the year.
“There are people who may not get the first opportunity, but they will throughout the season.”
Wolves travel to Leigh Centurions’ LSV Stadium on Sunday, kick off 3pm, before hosting a financially revived Salford at The Halliwell Jones Stadium on Wednesday, kick off 8pm.
Many questions remain unanswered as to which half-back combination will become the focal point of Wolves’ attack this year, who will be the winger/centre partners and what Smith believes to be his strongest starting pack.
And while the Leigh match does not promise to answer all those questions, Salford’s visit to Warrington next week is likely to be much more revealing.
“There will be a certain number of players who double up in both games for different reasons,” said Smith.
“Some will be about combinations, but for others it will be extra fitness work.
“We will have a young team starting against Leigh, but we will have some senior players who will take part in that game and a few that will get 10 minutes or half an hour of that game and then back up against Salford.”
Smith has not ruled out handing a first appearance to marquee prop signing Roy Asotasi against Leigh, while his home debut is likely to come against Salford.
Likewise Anthony England, who has not played since June.
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