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Tony Smith says his Warrington Wolves players put the team first
DAYS have long gone since coaches bought into the policy of not changing a winning team.
All kinds of selection issues are taken into consideration.
They include choosing the right team for the right game, leaving players out to freshen them up, giving players a string of appearances to either build their confidence, play their way into form, to gain match fitness or to blood rookies so they can gain experience.
It all features in squad rotation, something which Warrington Wolves head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith uses to his advantage to bring the best out of the squad at his disposal over the course of a season.
And it can be a way of spreading the workload and opportunities when a large squad is fit and healthy, as Warrington’s currently is in the main.
Wolves’ 2013 player of the year Micky Higham was on ‘waterboy’ duties in London at the weekend for ‘freshening up’, and that allowed Smith to give new full back signing Matty Russell game time on his comeback from injury.
Higham’s battling to claim his spot back for tomorrow’s trip to Salford, as is winger Joel Monaghan who missed the trip to London with a swollen knee.
So even Rhys Evans, who scored four tries on his season’s debut outing for Wolves at London Broncos, knows that effort does not necessarily guarantee a starting place for the following match when consistently prolific Monaghan is available again.
Ben Currie’s not in the 19-man squad this week, but fellow loose forward Simon Grix is as he looks to build his game time upon retuurning from an ankle injury sustained in training.
But players, who want nothing more than to be playing every week, must find it tough to be left out when things have been going well - even if they accept that ‘the boss knows best’.
“There’s never too many issues in that respect,” said Smith.
“It’s tough but it’s a team sport. Various players will handle it in varying ways but ultimately they know that the team comes first.
“Disappointments of selection is all a part of what happens and the only way to assure yourself of selection is by performing to your very best.
“Even then, you can find yourself on the sidelines because of the competition for places. It’s all part and parcel.
“Our players are all very good in that respect and put their personal disappointment aside for the sake of the team.”
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