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Tony Smith backing Warrington Wolves to bounce back
TONY Smith feels his men will cope better than they did against St Helens if Hull make it a tight affair on Saturday.
He believes that the frustrations and anxiety in not building up a lead in the weekend’s first play-offs clash pointed the way to the disappointing display and conclusion.
Wolves have been working through the processes of putting right what was wrong against St Helens and he is backing his men to bounce back.
He said: “If we get into a position where our opponents are putting up a good fight against us I think we’ll cope with that a whole lot better.
“I think we will have learned that if our opponents are putting up a wall against us for a while that we’ll be prepared to just stay there and knock that wall down as opposed to trying to jump over the wall individually for each other.
“I think that was the case at the weekend.
“We just didn’t offer enough in attack and did not take a few of our opportunities early on that probably would have given some momentum.
“We were a little anxious I think and also a little bit frustrated when we weren’t taking some of the options that were there for us.
“Probably we pushed things a little too much when we just needed to calm down and spend some time at the right end of the field rather than feel like we had to score each time we got there.”
Smith, who praised Saints’ defence for being as good as it has reached all year, said training going into the game was as good as it had ever been but perhaps that backfired a little with his men.
“Because we trained so well I think we felt things were going to flow for us and Saints put up a lot more of an obstacle for us than we may well have predicted. That throws you out a little bit sometimes.
“Particularly because of the way we’d trained I think we expected to get out there and blow them off the park.
“There were signs early on that we weren’t too bad and I don’t think we were off our game in total – just some aspects of our game.”
Smith agreed that the points he raised are fixable.
“It’s stuff we’ve executed before and achieved,” he said.
“That doesn’t mean it’s a guarantee this week because that is how sport is.
“However, we feel we’ve worked hard at addressing some of how we played at the weekend and it will hopefully stand us in better stead for this week.
“Our players are quick learners. We take a look at things and rectify the best we can and we’ve been going through those processes.
“I’ve got a lot of faith in this team and playing our best game I’m pretty confident they can bounce back strongly.
“We’ve worked hard all year to get a second chance and hopefully that’s our ‘below-our-standard’ performance for this year.
“It could do us a whole world of good to have had it now rather than we squeeze through at some stage and then come up with a ‘not-so-good’ performance that could have worse consequences.
“We’ve got a chance to put our performance right for this week. It has given us a kick up the backside and shown us some areas that we do need to be better at for the next game.
“It’s finals rugby league and anything can happen.
“Teams who take their opportunities win the games no matter what’s happened in the past 27 rounds of Super League.
“That’s the beauty of rugby league. It’s about being able to handle it on the day and taking your advantages and chances when they come.”