Writing was on the wall for Tony Smith after shock announcement

·3-min read
Tony Smith Hull KR Credit: PA Images
Tony Smith Hull KR Credit: PA Images

Hull KR’s defeat to Toulouse not only breathed life in to the Super League relegation battle, but spelled the end of Tony Smith at Craven Park.

The Robins provided one of the stories of last season as they made the play-offs and then nilled Warrington at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

The likes of Jordan Abdull and Mikey Lewis have flourished under Smith, who succeeded Tim Sheens midway through 2019.

After losing their first two games this season, Hull KR won seven out of nine but their season has unravelled since Smith announced he was to leave the club at the end of the season.

The timing of the announcement caught even the club on the hop, with Smith candidly revealing it in his weekly press conference.

SHOCK: Hull KR chief admits Tony Smith departure announcement came as a shock

Poor run of form costs Tony Smith

Although they won the game immediately after it, at home to Wakefield, they have managed just one win in eight since.

That early season promise, which also included two home sell outs, has since very much been extinguished and perhaps best highlighted by their miserable Challenge Cup semi-final defeat to Huddersfield.

Only Smith and those at the top at Hull KR will truly know the circumstances behind his decision to leave.

There were rumours at the time that Hull KR had been scouring the market for a new coach, which in itself seems odd given the progress and buzz being created by Smith and his side.

Those 10,000+ sell outs against Warrington and Hull FC in the first half of April seemed to be demonstrative of a club doing the right things and going in the right direction; especially in the context of attendances decreases at other clubs.

The club will no doubt be keen that this is merely a bump in the road, and all of that progress they have showed off the field will continue whoever is coach.

Season still very much on

After Smith’s departure was confirmed, Hull KR moved on and secured the services of Willie Peters who will take charge for the 2023 season.

In the interim, the respected Danny McGuire will act as coach with the season still very much on for the Robins.

Despite their poor form over the past two months or so, they are still only two points off the play-off places.

While the situation surrounding Smith has clearly had an impact, Hull KR haven’t been helped by a spate of injuries.

Key men Abdull, Lewis and Lachlan Coote have all had spells on the sidelines and only two players have appeared in every game – Shaun Kenny-Dowall and Matt Storton.

The nature of the defeat in Toulouse proved to the final straw, with discontent growing among the Robins fanbase.

Tony Smith was even quizzed on his future in the post-match press conference.

MORE: Hull KR part ways with head coach Tony Smith immediately

It remains to be seen what the future holds for Smith, who expressed a desire to remain in the UK.

He was linked with a move to Leeds earlier in the season, with his nephew Rohan Smith taking over the head coach role at Headingley.

As for Hull KR, McGuire’s first game in charge will be a real baptism of fire – a Hull derby at Magic Weekend against a Hull FC team smarting from a heavy defeat at home to Leeds at the weekend.

After that, Hull KR then welcome struggling Wakefield before trips to Warrington and Wigan.

They can avenge this weekend’s defeat to Toulouse when the French side visit Craven Park on August 7.

The article Writing was on the wall for Tony Smith after shock announcement appeared first on Loverugbyleague.com.

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