Wolves not distracted by Cup claims Smith

Tony Smith has insisted that his Warrington side will not allow thoughts of possible Challenge Cup glory to disrupt their focus on Friday evening against the Catalan Dragons.

The Wolves travel to Perpignan on the back of a surprise home defeat to Wakefield Wildcats at the weekend. There is also the prospect of next week’s Cup semi-final with Leeds at Langtree Park next week on the horizon.

But Smith maintains that the team will be fully focused on the many challenges that Catalan can pose to visitors.

“We’re focusing on the Catalan match. We want to go there and do a good job,” he said.

“We know what’s coming after, and we’ll focus on that match after the Catalans. But it’s important that we go to Catalan and do the best job we can.

“We’ve got a few players returning, which is a good thing. It gives them a good opportunity to get out there and show their form and put pressure on selections.

“That’s all good for us as we’re coming into the business end of the season.

“It’s going to be a good test for us. Catalan are very good on their own ground. They put a whole lot of pressure on you, by the way they play, and the crowd and support that they’ve got.

“So we’ve got be good over there. We’ve experienced both sides of it over there, when we’ve done well and not so well, so it’s a good challenge for us.”

Smith does accept, however, that a good display in Perpignan would be a nice thing build on, going into the semi-final.

“You always want form going into big games, you want confidence, and you want to know that you’re doing things well,” he added.

“But it’s not vitally important. We’ve experienced ourselves when we haven’t been playing so well, that we come up with a one-off performance.

“But every time you’d take the form leading into it. The confidence and the knowing that you’re playing well.

“Hopefully we can use Friday night as a stepping stone towards that, but it’s still possible within sport to come up with a drastic tournaround in form in a quick way, but we’ll try and build it up this week.”

As for the specific challenges posed by the Dragons, Smith knows that a hostile home crowd and an aggressive home team are two tests his men will need to be able to face.

“You need to be able to stand up for yourself, and also accept a bit of adversity,” he explained.

“I think they get a lot of calls, due to the pressure the referees get put under from the crowd – it’s quite hostile there.

“We’ve got to be tough, we’ve got to be smart, and stand up and be accountable as well. They’s a few things there that we haven’t quite done in the last couple of weeks.

“But it’s a good test for us under those sort of circumstances.”

The Wolves coach also wants to see improvment in the basic skills and structures of his team against the Dragons.

“We want to stop some of those points being scored that we’ve leaked in the last couple of weeks,” he said.

“Defensively we need to tighten up and toughen up a little bit. But I don’t think we’ve attacked particularly well in the last couple of weeks.

“I think we’ve been a bit conservative and haven’t asked enough questions of our opponents.

“We need to take a little bit more risk with the ball at times, move it around and test our opponents out.”

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