Warrington coach Tony Smith is taking the positives from his team’s World Club Series defeat to St George-Illawarra Dragons on Friday evening.
Two high tackles from St George players Eto Nabuli and Benji Marshall caused some controversy in the game, with the referee showing no cards for the offences.
While Smith acknowledged that the officals’ interpretation of the rules seemed very different to what his team are used to in Super League, he did not blame the referee.
“In no way did the rules decide the game,” he said.
“The better team won, and they deserved to win. So not for one second would I suggest otherwise.
“What we both had to do was learn along the way, and Saints learned a little quicker than us.
“That’s what they get for it. Well done to St George, they’re a great club.
“We had some players that were a little bit off their best, but we had some tremendous performers as well.
“We were a bit of a mixed bag. We needed more players to be on their best game tonight, rather than some being a bit off.
“But that’s what it takes when you play any of the Australian teams.
“Both teams put their bodies on their line and were trying their hardest, there’s no doubt about that,
“I thought it was a hard-fought game and both teams had their chances. Unfortunately for us, St George took theirs more than we did our chances.
“That’s a learning curve for us, and I’m sure we’ll get better for it.”
Smith felt that his team did well in terms of structure and tactics, but lost patience as the game wore on.
“I thought that overall tactically we were pretty good. We played a game plan and I thought we did okay until the second half,” he said.
“But we lost our patience, and pushed things a little bit too hard at different stages, when we need to build the game again in the second half.
“But they’re learning curves. We’re very proud to have played a part in that match, and we’ll look forward to experiencing more of those games in the future.”
Smith did feel that Eto Nabuli’s high tackle on Kevin Penny might have been handled differently on another night.
“I think in most other games we would have seen a decision come from the middle, but there was that feeling that rules were relaxed in certain areas,” he added.
“That’s the way it goes – I don’t ever look for anybody to be sent off, but there’s some incidents that still need to be adjudicated on, and in the right way.”