SMITH ON THE WARR PATH; RUGBY LEAGUE ALL THE LIVE ACTION & PREVIEWS.
Warrington 46 Widnes 12
WARRINGTON coach Tony Smith risked the wrath of RL bosses last night to deliver an impromptu first-half touchline team talk.
Smith gathered his side together by the dugouts with full-back Brett Hodgson about to convert Chris Bridge's second try.
His words of wisdom had the desired effect as the Wolves finally shrugged off a shock 12-0 deficit to take control with Bridge's brace and a Chris Riley hat-trick. "The game was being played under different circumstances to what we are used to," explained Smith.
"We had to make adjustments to get into the game. It was the slowest and messiest ruck area we've had all year.
"So, we had to speed things up and take things into our own hands."
Of his sideline pep talk, he said: "It wasn't planned by any means. Perhaps I'll get a loud hailer and yell it out next time."
Asked whether he feared an official rap, Smith added: "I don't know what the rules are.
"If it is contrary to the rules, I will handle whatever the consequences are.
"Surely there are bigger issues in the game than whether a coach speaks to a player or team on the sidelines?" But Smith finished a happy man as his decision to rest six key players - including skipper Adrian Morley, Lee Briers and Michael Monaghan - didn't backfire.
Indeed, he was delighted by 17-year-old debutant Ben Currie and fellow teenager Brad Dwyer, who came off the bench to score his first senior try "Ben was fantastic - 45 tackles and 10 hit ups at the last count," confirmed Smith.
"He is one for the future but he is a player for the present as well. And young Brad wasn't going to die wondering, was he?" Widnes, still searching for their first away win since returning to Super League, went 71 minutes without scoring after early tries from Chris Dean and Dave Allen.
But at 18-12 down, they had an effort by Rhys Hanbury disallowed by video referee Phil Bentham for a knock-on.
"Games change on incidents like that," suggested Vikings boss Denis Betts. "I cannot understand what some people see. I thought it should have been benefit of the doubt to the attacking side."
Instead of potentially 18-all, Widnes found themselves 24-12 behind as Hodgson touched down and landed another of his seven goals from eight attempts.
.fi Further tries from Ryan Atkins, Dwyer and Riley's late double ensured Warrington replaced Huddersfield at the top of Super League - at least for 24 hours.
BRADFORD banked another pounds 30,000 towards their fighting fund from last night's auction, including memorabilia from former stars Stuart Fielden, Leon Pryce, Jamie Peacock and Brian McDermott.
It is believed the Bulls now have pounds 425,000 towards their initial target of pounds 500,000. he DeHL fPMhi
LIFE OF RILEY Warrington's Chris touches down