Leeds appoint Tony Smith as their new academy coach

Headingley Leeds Rhinos Tony Smith Credit: Alamy
Headingley Leeds Rhinos Tony Smith Credit: Alamy

Leeds have appointed former Great Britain international Tony Smith as their new academy coach, taking over from Chev Walker.

The former Castleford, Wigan and Hull half-back joins the Rhinos from League 1 side Dewsbury, where he was assistant coach.

Smith takes over from Walker, who has joined the first team coaching staff at Headingley.

Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington said: “We are delighted to welcome Tony Smith to the Rhinos in this important role.

“He has a passion for personal development of young players and a wealth of experience in his field. He will certainly be a valuable asset to our backroom staff going forward.”

Tony Smith on joining the Rhinos

Smith was a Grand Final winner with Wigan in 1998. He went on to represent England in the 1995 and 2000 World Cups.

Smith has coached Wakefield in Super League and was academy head coach at Castleford for eight years.

Smith said: “It feels a bit surreal, it’s all happened very quickly. I have been involved in youth development for the last 10 years and to end up at this club really excites me. I think if you look at the players that Leeds has produced over the last 25 years it shows that they are doing something right.

“Chev Walker did an outstanding job last season that saw the team win the Grand Final. The majority of the team who played last year in the final can play again this year for the academy so it really is an exciting time to be involved with the club.

“As well as helping the players be the best they can on the pitch, it’s also about developing them as people and the resources; and the staff we have here at the club gives us the best opportunity to do that.

“From a coaching point of view what’s really pleasing is seeing a young lad make his debut, especially when you have played a part in that.

“I have been involved in the game for the last 40 years and I want to make a difference and pass on some of my experience; and also bring an energy and something different to these young players that I will be coaching.

“After packing in playing, being part of the development of new players is the next best thing and it excites me to help them grow as people and players.

“I would like to thank Dewsbury Rams for allowing this move to happen. I absolutely loved my time at the Rams and working alongside Liam Finn, who is a great coach.”

More Super League content

Kevin Sinfield hits £2million mark for Ultra 7 in 7 Challenge

Super League 2023: Signings and departures club-by-club

2023 rugby league kits including every Super League club

FOLLOW: Keep up with all the latest on the Love Rugby League mobile app and podcast

The article Leeds appoint Tony Smith as their new academy coach appeared first on Loverugbyleague.com.