Smith: Competition for spots was lacking

Warrington coach Tony Smith admits depth was an issue for the Wolves in 2015 but says now competition for positions within his team has greatly increased.

Warrington have brought in Kurt Gildey and Mitchell Dodds from the NRL, Tom Lineham and Joe Westerman from Hull FC, Ryan Bailey from Castleford, Jordan Cox from Hull KR and Jack Hughes from Wigan.

Ahead of the Wire’s opener tonight against Leeds, Smith is confident he has the squad balance right.

“We certainly didn’t have the depth as much as what we’ve got this year with the experience we’ve got. There’s no doubt about that,” he told Love Rugby League.

”We’ve got a lot more of that this year. People are really driving each other in training competing for the same position, which is a really healthy place to be.”

Smith was forced to bring through a lot of young players last season including the King brothers, Jack Johnson, Joe Philbin, Declan Patton and Sam Wilde.

“It was probably a little soon for them to play as many games as they did last year, but that gives them a hell of a lot more experience this year,” he said.

“And makes them much more capable this year and prepared to fill in for those positions, or push them for those positions in their own right.

“Heaven forbid we go through some of the injuries we had last year. We had 10,11 out for a number of weeks last year and that tests most squads.

“I think we’d cope with it a whole lot better this year with the depth we’ve got. We’ve got roughly 30-35 players who, in their own right, could play first-grade and do a good job.

“Where as last year that figure was probably around 24 so it meant some other boys had to step up before their time was right, but they did the best
they can and did a good job on the whole.”

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