AFTER admitting his players were somewhat undercooked for the opening game of Super League 2014 against St Helens, Wolves boss Tony Smith explained why clubs take that approach.

The lack of sharpness, full match fitness and cohesion were all indicators to those watching from the stands.

Smith acknowledged that playing more friendly games would help with that scenario, but cause other issues.

As it was, the majority of Wolves players had one run against Salford Red Devils or Leigh Centurions over the previous 11 days.

Saints' men had runs against Wigan and Batley.

Smith said: “Most teams go into the season with one friendly behind them and you use the first few rounds as your warm-up games.

“That’s due to the length of the season. If we had shorter seasons, we’d have more warm-up games and hone our skills and play a lot better.

“We use the early rounds nowadays. Sometimes it can be your team on the other end of it, like Nathan Brown going into the press conference smiling, but it could have been us going in that way. That’s going to happen in these early rounds.

“We’d like to think we’re going to get better over the next few weeks and I’m sure Browny would like to think his team is going to as well.

“That’s a risk you take. We could have had three or four friendlies but by the end of the season we’d only have half our squad left standing. That’s the price you pay.”

Skipper Michael Monaghan recently revealed that even with that approach around a dozen Wolves players needed surgery at the end of the 2013 campaign, which means few of them have had a full pre-season of preparation under their belts going into Super League XIX.

Smith added: “We’ll go away and work hard, we always do. We usually respond pretty well and we’ve had a good pre-season.”