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RugbyL: Plenty of work to do, says Warrington coach

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Warrington head coach Tony Smith insists there is plenty for his side to work on despite seeing them kick off their 2013 Super League season in style with a 40-24 win over Castleford Tigers.

The Wolves, runners-up in the Grand Final last year as well as defending Challenge Cup champions, start this season as favourites for the first Super League title in their history.

And they looked in promising form in their season curtain-raiser on Sunday, Ben Westwood crossing twice and Brett Hodgson kicking five goals in the victory.

For Smith, the former St George Dragons stand-off, there is plenty of time yet to iron out any of his side's flaws before the real hunt for silverware begins.

"We were probably a little bit scrappy with the ball at times but I thought our defence was pretty good for a fair amount of the game," he said.

"But we did some really good stuff as well and, with the amount of penalties in the match and the amount of ball turned over, you are going to concede a few points.

"I thought Castleford had a real dig considering the scoreline was so heavily against them early on, they never gave in.

"It was a good work out for us and we have a bit to work on, but we expected that with it being our first game of the year."

On Saturday Nathan Brown's first game in charge of St Helens did not go as planned, the hosts falling to a 40-4 defeat to Brown's former employers Huddersfield Giants at Langtree Park.

But while it was a far from ideal start Brown, former head coach of the St George Illawarra Dragons in the NRL, insisted no-one was pressing the panic button just yet. "From one game to the next in the friendlies we showed some improvement and we trained to a standard where we were reasonably happy," he said.

"But, at the end of the day, the physical part of the game is where it's won and lost and we got physically dominated.

"We knew Huddersfield had recruited really well and they will rattle up some scores.

"I thought we'd do a bit better than we did but we need to hold our nerve. It's a long year."

On Friday Hull FC head coach Peter Gentle was left sweating on the fitness of star signing and captain Gareth Ellis who limped out in the warm up before they took on defending champions Leeds Rhinos.

Shorn of their talisman, the Black and Whites were outgunned at Headingley as the Rhinos ran out 36-6 victors.

But for Gentle, a former Wests Tigers assistant, the loss of Ellis had next to no effect on the final scoreline.

"It started bad and got worse," he said. "It's tough losing your leader like that but we're not going to use that as an excuse.

"At 6-6 I thought we were going okay but we fell apart in that second half.

"It's a massive reality check for us, it shows how far we're off the top teams in this competition.

"We've a lot of work to do but I still believe we can get there. I don't think that's a fair indication of what we can do."

str/gnf

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130203/rugbyl-plenty-work-do-says-warrington-coach