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Tony Smith gives his reaction to Warrington Wolves' thumping at Twickenham Stoop
TONY Smith felt that anxiety over Wembley selections played its part in Wolves’ thrashing by London Broncos at the Twickenham Stoop.
“I probably didn’t think or predict that scoreline (62-18), however those sorts of results can happen to teams,” he said.
“Usually we’re on the other end of it and it’s much nicer when we are.
“But there were some things that we didn’t handle well.
“Some of our combinations were off and we had a little bit of anxiety that probably helped send awry the fluency that we normally have.
“We needed to give some boys some opportunities and I think there was maybe some people worrying if they were going to be there for next week and worrying about their performance rather than going out and doing what they normally do very well.
“There were some errors that were made and we probably didn’t cope with those errors as well as we normally would.
“It’s my theory that it’s anxiety when you don’t cope with things that you normally cope with very well.
“While it’s understandable, it’s not pleasant and we need to learn from it and be better for it, and I think we will be.
“We usually learn our lessons when we don’t perform so well and turn around, go back and do things better next time.”
It was put to Smith that Wolves could have done without this result, the highest conceded score of his three-year Wolves reign, a week before Wembley.
He said: “We can do without it before any game.
“We won’t be carrying this game into Wembley for too long.
“We’re feeling like we’re going to Wembley to do the best we can and put in a terrific performance.
“We’ll look at the lessons that we can take from this game and get out of our system some of that anxiety now rather than taking it into games next week.
“Better for it to happen now and learn lessons now than be anxious next week when it comes to the time to perform.”
On the 38-0 second-half crumble, Smith saw the signs in the first period.
“At 12-0 down I thought we showed patches where we realised we needed to build ourselves back into it,” he said.
“We got back into it with regards to the scoreline but to be down 24-18 at half time is usually a full-time score for us rather than a half-time score in terms of points scored against.
“It shows that we weren’t quite on our game and instead of being able to stem that flow we probably added to it in the second half.
“I didn’t think we had any composure about building a game in the second half rather than some of that composure that we’ve shown in the more recent matches.”
Smith repeated his comments pre-match that he needed to give players an opportunity to stake their claims for cup final spots, hence the nine changes made to the team.
He added: “Ultimately, if it’s about team selection tonight, and I certainly made mass changes to the team, I take responsibility for the overall performance and the result.
“But I also had a responsibility to them guys to make sure they’re given an opportunity to show their wares.
“On another day I know they’d be able to do a whole lot better job and I’m sure if they were given the opportunity again tomorrow – and understanding a bit about coping with some of the errors that were put on display – I think they’d do a better job of it next time, which is good for us.”
While not wanting to highlight individuals for good or bad performances, he did say: “It wasn’t all doom and gloom.
“There were some good efforts in amongst it.
“I don’t think anybody wasn’t trying. I think some people were trying a little bit hard, probably trying to change things and change them in the wrong way.
“The effort was there, it was just how that was put on display.
“On the injury front I think we’ve come through okay. There’s a few bumps and bruises and we’ll assess in the morning but touch wood we haven’t picked up anything major.
“While mentally we’re not in great shape tonight, we will be for the rest of the week. And physically, we’ll be in pretty good shape too.”