Warrington: Tony Smith predicts 'classic' Super League play-off

By Nathan MiddletonBBC Sport
Tony Smith
Tony Smith became Warrington head coach in 2009
Super League play-off semi-final
Wigan Warriors v Warrington Wolves
Venue: DW Stadium Date: Friday, 3 October Kick-off: 20:00 BST
Coverage: Live commentary on BBC 5 Live sports extra, BBC Radio Manchester, BBC Radio Merseyside; highlights on BBC Two at 17:05 BST on Sunday.

Warrington Wolves head coach Tony Smith believes their Super League play-off semi-final against Wigan Warriors could be a "classic" match.

Wolves reached the the last four of the play-offs for the fourth successive year following their win at Castleford.

Smith's side are looking to make it into a third consecutive Grand Final, with Friday's match a repeat of the 2013 final, which Wigan won 30-16.

"It's got the makings of a real classic," said the 47-year-old.

"The Wigan-Warrington match-ups for the last few four or five years have been some of the best matches of the whole entire Super League seasons - they stand out," he told BBC Radio Merseyside. "It's a match-up worthy of a final."

Joel Monaghan
Warrington winger Joel Monaghan is the top try scorer in Super League this season, crossing 33 times

Wigan have won both matches between the two during 2014, with Wolves throwing away a 18-4 first-half lead at the DW Stadium to lose 24-20 in the final match of the regular season.

"It was a great advert for rugby league," continued Smith. "Whilst we came out on the wrong side of a very close game, in the final play, we could have nicked that game.

"There is a contrast in the way each team plays - we're a little bit more ad lib and less structured than Wigan.

"When people say structures, they think boring, but they're not at all boring. They stick to what they do and they do it regularly and do it well, but that doesn't mean they don't pass the ball, and they're entertaining.

"You know what is coming and it's just whether you're good enough to stop it."

Since moving to Warrington in 2009, Smith has guided the club to three Challenge Cup wins but they have never managed to win the end-of-season Grand Final.

Wigan v Warrington head-to-head
Wolves 4-12 Wigan (March 2014)Wigan 24-20 Wolves (September 2014)
Wigan 17-17 Wolves (February 2013)Wolves 22-12 Wigan (June 2013)Wigan 30-16 Wolves (October 2013)
Wigan 20-22 Wolves (March 2011)Wolves 30-10 Wigan (August 2012)

As well as their loss to Wigan last year, Wolves were beaten by Leeds Rhinos at Old Trafford in 2012.

Having finished fifth during the regular season, Warrington have had to come through an extra play-off game, beating Widnes and Castleford to reach the last four.

"We've probably been playing sudden death rugby for a couple more weeks, but aside from that, everybody is in the same boat now," Smith added. "If you play well, you go through to a big day. If you don't, you pack up and go home.

"You want to fight for your life because you want to keep turning up and training.

"We enjoy each other's company, we enjoy what we're doing and we're fighting for survival for another week of working together. Training has been awesome over the last few weeks and they enjoy what they're doing."

Tony Smith was speaking to BBC Radio Merseyside's Phil Kinsella.

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