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RugbyL: Smith relieved to see Wolves rediscover bite

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Tony Smith admitted he couldn't have asked more from his Warrington Wolves after they put their Challenge Cup semi-final exit behind them with a hard-fought Super League victory over Castleford.

After missing out on a trip to Wembley in their previous match, things looked like going from bad to worse for Warrington as they trailed 24-6 to Castleford just before half-time on Sunday.

However, three tries in five second-half minutes fired Wolves back into the game and although Castleford came roaring back themselves, a late try from Joel Monaghan sealed a 40-30 Warrington victory.

And Warrington head coach Smith believed his players' efforts were nothing short of remarkable with the mood ahead of the Castleford clash less than ideal.

"I'm really pleased with our boys," Smith said. "We were flat early in the week after our defeat to Hull in the Challenge Cup.

"It was noticeably flat around training for a few days. So this game was about character for us and I thought we showed bucketloads of it.

"I was really pleased with the character we showed to fight back and change the momentum of the game because the momentum was fully on Castleford's side in that first half.

"To wrestle that back in our favour took some character. I've been at this place in my time at Warrington when we wouldn't have turned that round.

"We did this time and I'm really pleased and proud with the way they hung in there."

Elsewhere, Hull FC head coach Peter Gentle praised his players' professionalism after they put thoughts of their Challenge Cup final appearance behind them to get back to winning ways in the Super League.

Despite beating Warrington in the semi-final clash, Hull hosted Widnes Vikings on Friday having lost five in a row in the league.

But they emphatically ended that disappointing run with 12 tries in a 72-10 rout of Widnes.

And Australian Gentle was relieved to see that thoughts of their Wembley showcase had not yet entered his troops' minds.

"It was very important to back up what we did in the Challenge Cup last week," he said.

"You can't block out the cup final. It's a great achievement but we needed to bring that form into the league and we did that.

"We've got a big game again next week and then, after that, it's a big game against Salford leading into the Challenge Cup final."

Meanwhile, St Helens' 26-6 win over Catalan Dragons lost some of its' shine after Gareth O'Brien was stretched off, leaving Nathan Brown enraged.

O'Brien was knocked unconscious by a Zeb Taia high tackle and although the New Zealander was placed on report for the challenge, former St George Illawarra Dragons coach Brown felt that he had been let off lightly.

"I believe Zeb Taia is a lovely fella and a terrific player, but they've attacked his head deliberately and Taia will get nothing because the match commissioner will be shocking about it.

"I find it absolutely downright rude and disgraceful that the RFL don't protect the players in the game, in particular the small ones, who are the key players.

"It's just shocking. If one of my own players did it, I'd expect them to be sent off and then be suspended for a long, long period of time.

"Are we going to wait until some kid gets a broken neck or a broken jaw before the RFL act on it?"

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130804/rugbyl-smith-relieved-see-wolves-rediscover-bite