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Warrington Wolves' young leaders to benefit from experience of heavy defeat at Salford City Reds
DESPITE the pain of the manner of defeat at Salford, Wolves boss Tony Smith believes there will be benefits to take from the game for his new breed of playmakers in time to come.
On the previous occasion, in a 24-20 win at home against Salford on May 6, Wolves at least had Simon Grix’s half-back experience to call on but he was another absentee at the Salford City Stadium.
So it meant there was extra responsibility on the young shoulders of Richie Myler on his return from injury, Gareth O’Brien and Stefan Ratchford, along with former England international Micky Higham whose performance was below his best on the back of his preparation being hit by an ear infection.
Wolves’ head of coaching and rugby Smith said: “Briers, Hodgson and Michael Monaghan are our most experienced and our generals so it was interesting and it was a challenge for those boys who were left.
“Micky probably didn’t have his best game and there’s probably been good reason behind that because he has done a fantastic job for us this year.
“He led into Friday’s game with an incredibly bad ear infection that had been drained twice through the week and so he had overcome a fair bit to actually get on the field.
“Micky assured me he was fine and with not having Michael in the team I think he felt he needed to be there. He wasn’t going to damage himself any further, that was assured to me, but hindsight would be for me to have pulled him out to protect him.
“His preparation wasn’t the best but he puts his heart and soul into the club and to get out on to the field.
So it was a good challenge for the young boys. It was different and young generals out there for us and the amount that they will have learned from that game is enormous.
“It hurt for all of us on Friday but the value that they will take from that game for their futures will be enormous.
“I’m sure that given the same chance again that they’ll be better next time and would lead us around the field in a different manner.
“Sometimes you’ve got to suffer a little bit of hurt along the way to learn some of those lessons and that’s what those young boys are doing – and they’re doing a pretty good job most of the time.”