Tony Smith: I have no loyalty to Wigan whatsoever

Warrington Wolves head coach Tony Smith has confirmed that his side helped Sydney Roosters formulate a plan to defeat Wigan Warriors in this month’s World Club Challenge.

News broke last week that the Wire spent one of their three pre-seasons sessions with the NRL Premiers playing in the same style as Wigan and giving them advice on where the Super League champions are weak.

Warriors coach Shaun Wane was reportedly furious, and told the Daily Star: “It’s sad that a Super League team would do that.

“But I take it as a compliment that one of the best teams in the world is asking for help from a Super League team, especially a team that did not manage to beat us in a huge game last year.”

League Express caught up with Tony Smith at Warrington’s preseason media day, and the reports were confirmed as true.

“Yes, we spent three sessions with the Roosters and we trained as Wigan, as their opponents, for a session,” he said.

“I’ve got no qualms about it. I’m not, nor are any of my players, employed by Wigan. There is no loyalty to the Wigan club. However, there is a strong connection with the Roosters. Trent Robinson [coach] is a very close friend of mine and we are indebted to them for their hospitality during our stay.”

Smith isn’t convinced Wane is genuinely angry, and claims he will have done the exact same thing with one of the Roosters’ rivals.

“I’ve got no doubt that Shaun is doing his homework either through Maj [Michael Maguire] at South Sydney [Rabbitohs] and if not with Dean Bell at the [New Zealand] Warriors.

“There wouldn’t be a club in the world that wouldn’t go to somebody with some experience about their opponent and ask about it.

“Whether Shaun is actually furious or not I’m not sure, but it’s of little concern for me or my players.”

Wigan take on Sydney on February 22 at the Allianz Stadium. Their first Super League match against Warrington this season, which Wane claims will be “more interesting, there is no doubt about that” as a result of this story, is on March 20.

What do you think? Were Warrington out of order helping the Roosters? Should Super League clubs be loyal to one another? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below. And if you have a spare 14 minutes, check out the following video, which features highlights from Wigan and Warrington’s famous 1988 match at Wilderspool. Four players were sent off and one sin-binned after two big fights broke out. You never know, we may see a continuation of this when the sides lock horns again in March.


Want more Rugby League news and features? Subscribe to the online version of League Express newspaper and Rugby League World magazine. You can also connect with Total Rugby League on the social media platform of your choice.