Chris Sandow endured a debut to forget for Warrington Wolves but head coach Tony Smith was quick to leap to his new man’s defence.
The 26-year-old arrived in Warrington from the Parramatta Eels earlier this week and lined up for their trip to Leeds Rhinos on Friday evening.
Sandow kicked one goal but could do little to prevent the Wolves from suffering a humbling 49-10 defeat at the hands of the Super League leaders, Zak Hardaker crossing for two of the home side’s eight tries.
He also took a large chunk of the flak on Twitter from fans who accused the former Eels man of looking overweight at Headingley, but Smith believes patience is the key.
“It will take him a little bit of time but he showed some patches (of good play),” Smith said.
“It is tough for him – he got off a plane only a week ago and had three or four training sessions with the boys.
“He’ll get to know them and get to know his opposition better as well. He probably won’t kick over to Ryan Hall so much then. He’ll be good for us in the long run.”
The Rhinos were 24-6 up at halftime following tries from Kallum Watkins, Tom Briscoe, Hardaker and Danny McGuire, and they kicked on after the break.
A superb second for Hardaker was followed by scores from Joel Moon, Rob Burrow and Carl Ablett, while Kevin Sinfield amassed 17 points with his boot.
Kevin Perry scored both of Warrington’s tries but they never looked like competing with their hosts and Smith paid tribute to an impressive Leeds outfit.
“I think that was pretty exceptional,” he added.
“The best I’ve seen the Rhinos all year. They were rampant and all their dangerous players were very, very dangerous.
“I don’t know many teams who would have competed with the Rhinos the way they played. I thought we did well to contain them to that score at times.”