Tony Smith says Headingley pitch affected the game against Leeds Rhinos

Much has been made of pitches in Super League at the start of 2023.

The Wakefield Trinity pitch has been making headlines after Steve McNamara slammed the pitch at Belle Vue for tearing the skin off his players last week in their 38-24 triumph.

The pitch is a mixture of a synthetic surface as well as grass and the likes of Tom Johnstone have shown the injuries and blood loss caused by the surface.

Not far away from the redeveloping Belle Vue, at Headingley the recent concert at the ground to start the City of Culture in Leeds left the pitch covered in sand in pre-season.

Credit to the grounds staff at Leeds, they were able to make it look just fine in time for last night’s clash with Hull FC but still Hull FC boss Tony Smith felt the pitch impacted the game.

He said after the game: “Mixed, I’m glad we have come away with it. It could have gone the other way and times it looked like it was going to.

“There were some mistakes, anyone who walked on that pitch, being a dairy farmer’s son, it was lush. Lush at one end, very slippery and a lot of moisture.

“It wasn’t good for good rugby league. Last week we had a good day for rugby league over in Hull which allowed expansive rugby league.

“The conditions were so different, that ball was wet tonight so it wasn’t raining.”

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