PA Sport

Smith calls for changes to play-offs

Smith calls for changes to play-offs
By PA Sport

19/09/2012 at 02:32Updated 19/09/2012 at 06:25

Warrington coach Tony Smith has called for a re-think over the Super League play-off format following two one-sided ties at the weekend.

Smith, who is hoping to guide the Wolves to a maiden Grand Final appearance, believes the inclusion of eight of the 14 teams in the end-of-season play-off series is a reward for mediocrity.

He said: "I'm not going to shy away from what I've said for a long time about there being too many teams. I'm also not a fan of over half the competition making the finals."

Huddersfield, who finished seventh, were crushed 46-10 at Hull while eighth-placed Wakefield ran out of steam in going down 42-20 at Leeds and Catalan Dragons lost 46-6 in a qualifying tie at Wigan.

Although Leeds won the title from fifth place in 2011, the teams finishing in sixth, seventh and eighth have traditionally struggled to make an impact in the knockout phase of the competition.

Former Leeds and England head coach Smith has frequently called for a reduction in the number of teams in Super League and now wants a debate over the make-up of the Grand Final series, pointing to the fact that Wakefield reached the play-offs despite losing more matches than they won during the regular season.

"After 27 rounds and a whole heap of Challenge Cup games, it's a long year for many of the teams with the depth that they've got," he said. "Some teams are in good shape and some in not so good shape and you're bound to get some blow-out scores.

"It's terrific for the interest sake if more fans think their team has a chance of going through to the final but at the moment a team with a negative win-loss ratio gets through to the finals.

"You may one day get a team that comes through and does a fantastic job and we'll all be raving about that but I think it's a reward for average. I think some things need to change before we get an absolute cracking final series."

"We need to modify it and find what's best for us and have some frank and open discussions about that but we don't get much chance to do that apart from occasionally in the media. As coaches, we don't get asked for our opinion. We've got real poor communication lines in our game and I think we're all suffering because of it too."