Success didn’t happen overnight, says Smith

Tony Smith insists Warrington’s current success is down to years of developing his current squad.

Following an underwhelming 2015, the Wolves have been the standout team in Super League this year and currently hold a two-point cushion at the top of the table.

Smith will attempt to guide his team to victory over St Helens tonight, and by doing so would move four points clear at the top. The experienced coach had a major overhaul of his side ahead of this season, his largest turnover in player personnel during his career, bringing in the likes of Kurt Gidley, Joe Westerman and Tom Lineham.

While all of his recruits have impressed, the likes of Ben Currie, Maty Russell and Kevin Penny have also played pivotal roles.

And Smith insists that the experience his youngsters have gained over the last few years, plus the injection of class and experience from outside the club, has resulted in Warrington’s current success.

“We seem to be getting through the other side of our rebuilding and we’re starting to get more consistency,” Smith told TotalRL.

“It’s been tough times doing that because some of the players you’re replacing take years to build up to where they were and it doesn’t take long for them to go, and once they go it can take a while to get back up again. Fans and chairman sometimes need patience and realistic ambitions.

“It took a little bit of time to get to this position and the experience some of the young guys have picked up over those years has been vital to that. We made some changes on and off the field and that was important to freshen things up and give us depth and that helps us cope with the injuries we have at the moment.

“Sometimes what you need isn’t available on the market. To go out and find another Lee Briers was very difficult to do. So it can take time to get those things right, or even get the opportunity to get it right.”

Warrington will take on a Saints side struggling with injuries and having just one win to their name in their last four outings, but Smith was quick to talk up the threats Keiron Cunningham’s side possess.

“They’re three wins off the top team, it’s hardly alarming,” he said.

“I understand that expectations and desires at St Helens are very high, but they’re still winning most of their games despite having a stack of injuries.

“They’re a very good team, any team with James Roby in their side is going to be tough and Alex Walmsley was devastating last year. There’s also Luke Walsh who can dismantle you with his kicking game and then they’ve got the likes of Jon Wilkin, Jordan Turner and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook who can really hurt you.”