Tony Smith: Warrington Wolves coach says current Super League season his hardest
Warrington Wolves coach Tony Smith says the current campaign has been the toughest during his nine years in charge of the Super League club.
Warrington won the League Leaders' Shield and lost in both major finals in 2016, while three Challenge Cups have been won since Smith took over in 2009.
But this year Wolves are ninth in Super League and have lost 11 of their 19 matches in the competition.
"It has been a challenge for all sorts of reasons and circumstances," he said.
"Sometimes it is how you learn your best lessons and how you improve," the former Leeds Rhinos, England and Great Britain coach told BBC Radio Manchester.
"Some things you set out to achieve sometimes aren't within grasp. You can't take anything for granted."
Australia-born Smith is the longest-serving coach in Super League, having joined Warrington after taking charge of England at the 2008 World Cup.
Warrington beat Catalans Dragons on Saturday for their sixth Super League win of the season, ending a six-game winless run in all competitions, but have suffered a number of heavy losses this campaign, including 40-0 to Leeds Rhinos and 44-4 to Huddersfield Giants.
They are three points behind eighth-placed Wigan with four matches left to play before the Super 8s split.
"I haven't enjoyed where we sit in the season but it has been an intriguing season," Smith said. "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."