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Warrington Wolves boss Tony Smith highlights coaching staff for special praise
TONY Smith has developed a God-like status among the Warrington Wolves faithful as the puppeteer behind the club’s rise to prominence in the last three years.
He is often thought to be masterminding everything that is good about Wolves on the playing side and as a club, but he admits the reality is much more democratic than the way it is often portrayed.
He said: “It is certainly not a dictatorship at Warrington Wolves, far from it!
“Really I am the representative of a whole group of people who help prepare the players every week.”
While it can never be underestimated how much Smith has achieved with Warrington since his arrival in early 2009, credit must also go to those unsung heroes behind the scenes.
First-team coaches Willie Poching and Richard Marshall, strength and conditioning coach Chris Baron, physiotherapist Ross Mitchell, club doctor Paul Stockton and performance analyst Emma Edwards are just some of the individuals that contribute to Wolves’ success on the field and according to Smith they deserve a lot more recognition than they currently receive.
“They are massively important to the consistency and level of performance that our players produce,” he said.
“The players have faith in them, I have faith in them and they play a huge role in the preparation of the players before the game and during the week.
“I am often spoken about as THE coach, but when I go to press conferences and other things like that I am actually the name representing a whole team of coaches and staff behind the team.
“They have a big amount of influence on the running of the team and they probably don’t get as much credit for that as they deserve.”
And it is not just in the physical preparation, coaching and training in which Smith’s staff have a say, with many a heated debate taking place at Wolves’ Padgate training centre regarding how the team sets up for each game.
“They have a part to play in everything, from preparation, to the team selection and other stuff,” he said.
“There are a lot of discussions, debates and arguments about team selection, tactics and all sorts of things that go into putting out a winning side at a weekend.
“But I encourage that, because I don’t want a group of yes men and women in the coaching staff.”
Smith is of course still the catalyst for Wolves’ success, but take a moment to appreciate the back-room staff that have helped Smith and Wolves become the rugby league force that they are today.