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Wolves preparing different approach for Saints clash
WOLVES boss Tony Smith believes his side have not yet seen the best of St Helens ahead of the club’s Super League play-off semi final at Langtree Park this evening, kick off 6.15pm.
Despite falling to a resounding 28-6 home defeat at the hands of their near rivals in the qualification stages two weeks ago, Wolves may well have to defeat an improved Saints side if they are to secure the Grand Final spot that has eluded them since the format’s inception in 1998.
“I don’t think we have necessarily seen the best of Saints yet, as this is the stage of the season you build up for,” said Smith.
“They will be hoping to step it up in the same way that we will be and I expect that they will go up a level too.”
Smith does not expect a repeat of two weeks ago in his team’s performance and believes that if lessons have truly been learned his side will be a much stronger attacking force.
“Maybe the players felt the pressure to create something and force the issue,” he said.
“We put pressure on ourselves and we lacked the composure we need at this time of the year.
“So we needed to learn from that and I think we showed that we did against Hull.
“It is a different game plan for this week, but in terms of composure and execution we need to step up again from what we achieved on Saturday.
“I thought we were a lot better. We were calmer and more efficient in the way that we worked, and that was lessons learned from the previous week.
“We would like to go up another peg on that this week.”
Wolves took the unusual step of spending the night before the Hull game at a hotel in Manchester, despite playing at home.
It was possibly an attempt to reproduce the build-up to the cup finals that Wolves have had so much success in, and while Smith was unsure whether this helped his side produce a better level of performance he admitted that they may well do the same thing this week.
“We will see how we feel about our preparation, how it has gone and whether that is appropriate this time around,” he said.
“I’m not sure we wouldn’t have performed well anyway, but myself and my coaches will make a call on that later in the week.”
Smith is calling on the experience of his two previous Grand Final wins to help get his side over the line against Saints, but admitted that experience does not always lead to success.
“Of course I use the experience I have gained from past Grand Final experiences, but that doesn’t always mean that everything will go to plan,” he said.
“That is the beauty of sport, isn’t it? The unpredictability.
“If drawing on experience was enough to win you trophies, some coaches would win everything and some would never win.
“The most you can do as a coach and a player is to prepare to the best of your ability and try your hardest. Hopefully that will be enough.”