Smith: Changing of the guard in Super League

Tony Smith Warrington

Warrington head coach Tony Smith says that the now level playing field in Super League has resulted in different teams competing at the top.

In what has been the most unpredictable season to date, both of last season’s Grand Finalists, Wigan and Warrington, sit a lowly eighth and ninth respectively.

This has seen new teams emerge at the top with Castleford, who a decade ago were playing in the Championship, now seven points clear from their nearest challengers Hull.

And Wire boss Smith, who recognises the struggles his team have had in 2017, believes the salary cap has played a big part in the changing nature of the league.

“I haven’t enjoyed where we sit but it has been an intriguing season,” Smith told BBC Radio Manchester.

“It has been a changing of the guard for different teams and that has got to be a good thing.

“I think that has to do with the levelling of the salary cap. I don’t think there is a huge difference in the playing talent at the top or the bottom.

“If you can keep your best people on the park then you have a chance. If not, then it is a great leveller.”

More accustomed to challenging for silverware, Smith and Warrington are facing up to the possibility of playing in the Qualifiers which will put their Super League status at risk.

With just four games to go until the league splits, Wire sit one place and three points behind eighth Wigan as they prepare to take on high-flying Wakefield on Saturday evening.

Speaking on his team’s performances so far in 2017, the Wolves head coach admitted it has been the most challenging season of his career.

“It has been a challenge for all sorts of reasons and circumstances,” said Smith.

“Sometimes it is how you learn your best lessons and how you improve. Some things you set out to achieve sometimes aren’t within grasp. You can’t take anything for granted.”

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