Huddersfield v Warrington preview.
Smith wary of wounded Giants
Warrington coach Tony Smith is warning his players to take no notice Huddersfield's woeful Super League form going into Sunday's Carnegie Challenge Cup semi-final.
Smith's old club are in freefall after winning just one of their last eight league matches, but they are just 80 minutes away from Wembley, with the Wolves standing in their way.
The Giants' fortunes under Nathan Brown reached a new low with last Sunday's 52-6 thrashing by lowly Castleford, but Smith believes that makes them even more dangerous as they prepare to meet at the City of Salford Stadium.
"Obviously it's much-talked about at the moment," Smith said. "Their most recent form at the weekend will have hit them hard, but I would suggest that it probably makes it more dangerous for us.
"They probably sat down this week and talked about what's gone on in the last little while.
"Whilst they've got plenty of time to get their campaign back in order for the league, I think they've also got an opportunity for a pretty big outing after this match, as we have.
"I dare say they're trying to pull together - it only takes one game to turn things around. We're certainly preparing ourselves for the best Huddersfield team in the best form they can have."
The Giants' mid-season slump has been linked to the announcement made in April of their head coach's move to St Helens in November, but Smith, who is a close friend and neighbour of Brown, believes it is more likely to be coincidence.
Certainly Smith did not encounter any problems in 2007 when he announced in mid-season that he would be leaving Leeds to take charge of England, signing off with a second Grand Final win in four years.
"I can understand how it can be unsettling to some degree but in this professional day and age you don't worry what is coming for the following year," Smith said.
"You just knuckle down and get on with each and every week. Sometimes it can just be a coincidence. It's easy and convenient to say it's because the coach is leaving.
"I don't know all the ins and outs, but it's quite common nowadays for people to know that someone is moving on from one club to another.
"It is what is is and it's better being out on the table. That's how I found it in the past when it's happened to me."
Brown suggested at a press conference this week that he had discovered the "underlying factor" behind his team's slump but was keeping it to himself.
He does agree, however, that his side will need to produce one of the biggest shocks in the recent history of the competition if they are to reach the August 25 final.
"It would be a big turn-around but it's not uncommon in sport," he said. "Not long ago, Bradford beat St Helens by 50 points and two weeks later St Helens beat Bradford 8-6 in the Grand Final.
"I've seen it a thousand times in the NRL where a week before the play-off semi-finals a side has been beaten by 40 and two weeks later they're playing a Grand Final and winning it.
"At the end of the day, it comes down to what's under your shirt. If you want to put the effort in and you've got the desire, you'll compete as hard as you can and you'll find a way to get there.
"That's what we need to do and that's when we play at our best."
Warrington beat Huddersfield at Wembley three years ago and have won their last seven Challenge Cup games against them going back to the 1933 final.