Tony Smith: The game is not protecting our players

Warrington Wolves coach Tony Smith insists the game is failing to protect its players, and has called for more protection after Matty Russell’s horrific injury at the weekend.

Russell has since been cleared of any serious injury after colliding with Widnes’ Macgraff Leuluai during their play-off encounter on Saturday, but Smith believes there isn’t enough being done to look after players – as well as saying the incident was a complete accident.

“I don’t think we’re protecting our players,” said Smith.

“Despite whether they are dipping, despite their size, whether it’s Rob Burrow or Trent Waterhouse, the onus has always been on the defender to not hit somebody in the face.

“It was totally accidental, in terms of he didn’t try to hit him in the head, absolutely.

“But when you decide to make a tackle and the ball carrier dips, for whatever the reason, the onus has always been on the defender.”

“It’s going to be interesting to see how defences go here on in. They’ll go to every judiciary disciplinary meeting and say ‘well the ball carrier was dipping’.

“I don’t want anybody to get into trouble, and I’m not looking for any repercussions from what I’m saying, but I thought it was handled poorly on the day and I think it’s been handed poorly ever since.”