Smith believes St Helens are not too different since Cunningham departure

Warrington coach Tony Smith admits that while he’s seen some “subtle differences” in the way Friday’s opponents St Helens play, he still believes they are a very similar side to how they operated under Keiron Cunningham.

The Wolves will move level on points with the Saints if they win on Friday, with victory their fifth in six games since their upturn in form.

And Smith believes while there are some slight changes to the Saints, they are not too dissimilar from how they were prior to Cunningham’s exit.

“I’ve seen subtle differences in them,” he told TotalRL.

“They’re trying to pass the ball a lot more and move it than what they were, but they’ve had mixed fortunes since Keiron left and I don’t think it’s answered all their questions.”

Smith also admitted he still has sympathy for Saints legend Cunningham.

He said: “I still feel for Keiron; he was thrown in at a stage when he needed more development but opportunities don’t always present themselves the way they should – and he put his hand up to do the job.

“I’ve spoken to him since, he seems to have handled the situation well. I don’t think it’s necessarily going to give them better fortunes in the immediate future, but I think they’re still pretty much how they were – they’re still a competitive team who are hard to beat.”

Smith also shrugged off suggestions the game is any bigger than normal given the context of the league table.

He said: “I don’t know which game we’ve played this year that hasn’t been big.

“The game in front of you is the most important every week throughout the season. We don’t look any further than that. That bottom four gets decided after Round 23, and we’re just looking at each game as it comes.”