RugbyL: Smith impressed by rock-solid Wolves

Warrington Wolves head coach Tony Smith believed it was his side's defensive effort which proved decisive as they ran out comfortable winners against Bradford Bulls.

Australian-born Smith led the Wolves to the final of the Super League last season and thanks to his team's solid defence, he looks on course for the play-offs once more after Warrington consolidated third place in the table with a 32-4 win.

"To concede only four points in a Super League game is pretty good going, particularly against another top eight-team and even then it was after 28 tackles in a row," Smith said.

"So we showed a bit more of the grittiness that we had in the past and we have been working hard on that aspect of our game, so for that reason we were pretty pleased.

"There are areas still to improve but I think we are on the right track and history has shown that we usually do improve at this time of the year.

"It shows that it is what you do from here on in that really counts and if we are able to build some momentum and build some of those consistent performances on the back of that, then we'll be happy."

Meanwhile, Wigan Warriors head coach Shaun Wane admitted he had tried everything to convince Pat Richards to stay before the winger made the decision to return to the NRL with Wests Tigers.

Richards was again on song on Friday as he helped the Warriors to a 28-20 win over Hull, slotting 12 points to keep the home side at bay.

He will stay until the end of the 2013 Super League season before returning for a second spell at the Tigers, whom he left in 2005, having also spent three seasons with the Paramatta Eels.

"He told me a couple of weeks ago that he was going and I really admire him," Wane said.

"He's a good man who has done a lot of things that people don't know about behind the scenes at this club, things in team meetings and things like that.

"He's an outstanding individual. I wanted to give him a new deal - I don't want him to go. But his kids are at an age where they are ready to start school and his mind was made up.

"I have kids, I know what it's like, so I understand it. Paddy has loved it here but he wants to go."

Elsewhere, Wakefield Wildcats coach Richard Agar highlighted the display of Paul Aiton, who scored a vital try in their 28-26 win over Widnes.

The 27-year-old is in his second year with the Wildcats but was left out of the squad for June's Exiles game.

And Agar admits he's happy to reap the rewards of Aiton's omission from the squad as he vented his frustration in the perfect manner.

"Paul Aiton was a constant threat from dummy half and pound for pound is a tremendous player," Agar said.

"If being left out of the Exiles squad gives us an extra focus, that's good for us.

"Danny Kirmond did a terrific job on Gareth Hock, who is a devastating and destructive forward."