Wolves to show bite - Smith
Coach backs his side to come good on big occasion
Last Updated: 28/08/09 11:31am
Warrington coach Tony Smith is confident his side can banish their worrying Super League form and rise to the big occasion at Wembley.
The Wolves go into their first Challenge Cup final for 19 years on the back of some dismal League form - only one win from their last six matches has put their play-off place in serious doubt.
But Smith is hoping his players can repeat the tactics they employed at Hull KR in the quarter-finals and against Wigan in an epic semi-final when they take on Huddersfield for rugby league's glamour prize.
"Our form hasn't been great in the last couple of weeks," he said. "We haven't been pleased with what we've been producing but we have had some disruption with injuries. We've had to put out players who are not 100 per cent.
"Sometimes when you get form like we've got, it galvanises you as a team. We've been able to do that at times this year and turn things around quickly."
Injuries continue to dog Warrington's preparation for their big day, with hooker Jon Clarke the latest player to be ruled out after failing to recover from an ankle knock.
Mickey Higham is set to take Clarke's place after being named in Smith's 19-man squad, despite being out since May with ruptured biceps, and the coach will hold a final check on centre Matt King's hamstring.
Huddersfield coach Nathan Brown left out forward Andy Raleigh when he announced his 19-man squad, which means Simon Finnigan or Martin Aspinwall will take the place of injured second rower Danny Kirmond.
The Giants go into their second final in four years with the benefit of a week's rest.
The bookmakers cannot separate the teams but Brown is hoping his side's superior fitness and workrate can nullify the flair of the Wolves.
"We anticipate every game to be close," he said. "We are going out there to put ourselves in a position to stay in the game and back our fitness to get ourselves a victory.
"We know they're a very talented side and we're going to have to play well.
"They're pretty strong all across the park. It's no secret Michael Monaghan and Lee Briers have been playing pretty well for them and Adrian Morley and Garreth Carvell are their go-forward.
"They've got international-class back rowers and international centres so they're not short of talented players."
Smith admits the Giants' top-four spot is well earned and he is full of praise for the work of his former St George team-mate Brown.
"Nathan has got them well organised," he said. "They're hard working with good technique and they're a smart bunch of players.
"They're very determined. They're very good in a lot of areas in the tackle and on the ground.
"It's well documented that they control that ruck area as well as anyone in the competition and that shows in their strong defence statistics."
Huddersfield (from): B Hodgson (capt), Cudjoe, Lolesi, Whatuira, D Hodgson, Brown, Robinson, Mason, Moore, Griffin, Fulton, Wild, Faiumu, Crabtree, Jackson, Finnigan, Lunt, Aspinwall, Lawrence.
Warrington (from): Mathers, Hicks, Bridge, King, Riley, Briers, Monaghan, Morley (capt), Higham, Carvell, L Anderson, Westwood, Harrison, V Anderson, Cooper, Rauhihi, Johnson, McCarthy, Mitchell.
Referee: Steve Ganson (St Helens).