PA Sport

Tony Smith satisfied with win over short-handed Wigan

Tony Smith satisfied with win over short-handed Wigan
By PA Sport

29/04/2016 at 00:14Updated 29/04/2016 at 00:19

Warrington coach Tony Smith was delighted with a 40-10 rout of Wigan that took his side two points clear at the top of Super League but had some sympathy for his injury-hit opponents.

Stand-off George Williams made a satisfactory comeback on his first appearance for two months but Wigan still had five England players and another three regulars on the sidelines.

They then lost forwards Tony Clubb (head), Lee Mossop (quad) and Taulima Tautai (calf) to injury in the second half as they finished the game with 12 men.

" Wigan were down on a number of players and so are we," Smith said. "The difference is most of our starting players were on the park.

"We did what we ought to have done. Wigan are missing some crucial players at the moment. They're doing it tough."

After a tense opening 15 minutes of stalemate, Wigan opened the scoring through winger Josh Charnley but Warrington seized control on the back of some smart play from half-backs Kurt Gidley and Stefan Ratchford and established an 18-4 lead at the break.

Evergreen forward Ben Westwood, who began on the bench, scored tries towards the end of each half and centre Ryan Atkins also touched down twice before coming off with a fractured finger.

"It probably took us about 15 minutes but then we started to turn the volume up," Smith said. "Our defence kicked into the gear and we got really physical.

"You know with Wigan it will be physical but I thought we did that and built our game on our defence and got some reward by half-time.

"That set us up nicely and our attack improved in the second half. Our kicking game was really good in those conditions, which was important.

"We did what we needed to do and Bennie Westwood came on and had a real impact. He's sore at the minute after having operations on his ankles before Easter."

Smith was forced to reshuffle his back division after losing winger Tom Lineham with a head knock after only 11 minutes but France international Benjamin Jullien seized his chance to produce an impressive performance at centre and scored his first Super League try.

"It meant some adjustments but young Benjamin slotted into the right centre position really well," Smith said.

"We've taken Tom Lineham to hospital because it was a fair knock. I'm pretty sure he will be okay but when you get a knock like that you need to make sure he sees the right people."

Shaun Wane, who was taking charge of his 150th game, managed a smile despite his side's comprehensive defeat.

"I thought the ref was good," he said. "I've not said that too many times this year.

"You've just got to hold your hands up and say they were too good for us. They're a very good team, with a lot of top-end players fit and healthy.

"I thought for 25 minutes we challenged them but they beat us with line speed and field position and they kicked better than us.

"I thought we showed some toughness, we didn't give in. We finished with 12 men, we just gave ourselves too much to do against a very good team who were red hot.

"I'm happy with where we're at, we've got some players to come back."