Smith wants play-off changes
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.
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.
"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.
"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."
Meanwhile, Warrington will be without England second rower Ben Westwood for Saturday's preliminary semi-final against Hull at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Westwood has missed his club's last three games after suffering medial knee ligament damage in the Challenge Cup final victory over Leeds at Wembley last month and is not guaranteed to play in the semi-finals if the Wolves get past Hull.
Warrington also have doubts over prop Garreth Carvell and full-back Brett Hodgson after they picked up injuries in last Saturday's 28-6 qualifying play-off defeat by St Helens, but loose forward Ben Harrison has recovered from a knee injury that forced him to miss that match.
"Carvell will be pushing it but he's still a chance," Smith said. "He's working hard to make himself available.
"Hodgson is further down the track, so he's a real chance."