When he commanded his first Super League game as Huddersfield Giants boss on March 4, 2001, Tony Smith had no idea he would still be in the competition after 499 games. In fact, he probably never thought he’d be back in Britain in the first place.
The first Australian game experience he had forgotten was the 1996 season – the first year of summer rugby league – playing for Super League bottom scorer Workington Town and living in an apartment above a chip shop in most North West games. outpost
Five years later, however, former Ilavra Steelers and St George Dragons struggle Smith was back, in pursuit of his coaching ambitions paid his way to an interview for a job at Huddersfield—leader and beginning a stint that saw him in these positions. Have looked at the base of the coasts for 21+ years.
Smith and his wife have become so rooted in the country that as well as being in charge of the Great Britain and England national teams, they became a British citizen in 2008 and recalled how they originally intended to stay for some Tha years have been more than two decades.
“I met a former player a few months ago at a 40th birthday party and it reminded me of something he said to me as I kept referring to Australia as home,” Smith said. sky game,
“I was referring to Australian sport several times when I came over and they said ‘if it’s good out there, what are you doing here?’ – and it made me feel and engage here in the game.
“If I was only here temporarily I needed to engage with the country and from that day on I stopped calling Australia home and no longer called it home. Me since then.
Hull Kingston Rovers and Hull FC. Key Features of Super League Game Between
“That changed and I took up the British sport – and I’m still in it.”
An Easter Monday visit to the Toulouse Olympics with current club Hull Kingston Rovers will propel Smith to a 500 Super League game milestone as head coach, a career that has led to two Grand Final victories with the Leeds Rhinos and at Wolves. Has achieved three Challenge Cup successes during its nine years. of Warrington.
Few would have predicted his coaching career for Smith during those early days at Huddersfield, with the Giants losing 13 games in a row until a 22–22 draw at home to the London Broncos. Finally their first points of the season.
Relegation would eventually follow, but Smith’s Giants made a comeback in 2002 by winning promotion at the first attempt after an unbeaten Northern Ford Premiership campaign and have been an established presence in the Super League since then.
It may not have seemed like it at the time, but those vastly varied experiences proved invaluable to Smith and it owes something to his older brother, Brian, who has held head coaching positions in the Super League and NRL.
“A lot of people don’t have any of that experience, so in your first year, facing a lot of adversity in the first few years should be considered a real privilege. Stage your career and keep a team on track,” he said. Keep coming back from charge,” Smith said.
“To do in the style that we did, not out, I was very fortunate to have those experiences and I think they stayed with me, even during some tough times in the Super League.” as well.
“None of them has been as difficult as losing their first 13 games in a season since taking office, so to suffer so much while doing your job, you have to do something right.
I took up the British sport – and still am.
Hull KR head coach Tony Smith
“Plus, it proves that what we were doing was working and luckily this club has been a strong club ever since. I am happy to say that I was part of its foundation. »
Many thought Smith would ever be seen back in the Super League following his decision to step down from the role of Warrington at the end of the 2017 season, and he makes no secret of the fact that he has to take a break after getting tired of the requests. was required. Fell in love with work and in rugby league.
But some time off, which included a mentoring role with Premier League football, allowed him to refresh and rejuvenate, and the 55-year-old returned to the game through the 2019 campaign. Hull at KR.
It proved to be a perfect match for the coach and the club, with Smith – assisted by Rovers icon Stanley Jean and his former Leeds and England half-back Danny McGuire – struggling within 80 minutes of the first Super appearance of Robbins. guided. Last year’s grand final of the league.
“I was lucky to be back in a place that allowed me to find myself, especially thanks to the players I coached,” Smith said.
“They’ve been fantastic, and I’ve been really privileged and fortunate to have a great group of guys who have helped me gain confidence in what I’m doing as a coach, because it’s One part has to suffer.
“Even since I’ve been a coach, you start doubting yourself and wondering if the things you’re talking about are still relevant and current.
“He helped me with this, but I’ve coached a few young coaches since then and hope to encourage them to become head coaches too.”
Tony Smith was pleased to give Hull Kingston Rovers fans something to get excited about the Derby win over Hull FC
This season, Hull KR made it to the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup and hovered around the play-off places once again at the start of the Super League table after a 16–4 win over Hull FC in the Good Friday derby. ,
Rovers’ flashy playing style has also won many of their fans, but the basis of Smith’s subdued approach lies in two areas – appreciating what they do and appreciating their effort.
“We’re not always the best team in the park, but we pride ourselves on always trying our hardest,” Smith said. “We’re fine if someone beats us because they deserve it that day and can beat us or make us lose, but it’s rarely because of a lack of effort.
“I haven’t played in many good teams as a player – maybe it wasn’t a good team because I was on the team! – but what we had to do was try really hard and I know when you get talented people put together and they work really hard, then you start winning.
“That’s the culture we develop there and it’s not overnight, like Huddersfield wasn’t.”
Alcohol maven. Incurable pop culture specialist. Communicator. Gamer. Certified explorer.