Tony Smith issues warning over Hull KR revival as he looks to emulate Castleford Tigers

Tony Smith issues warning over Hull KR revival as he looks to emulate Castleford Tigers
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Tony Smith has warned it will take time to improve Hull KR’s fortunes – but the experienced coach is confident all the hard work will eventually pay off.

Rovers have struggled since their return to Super League in 2018, with 10th spot still their best finish in their three years back in the top flight.

Tim Sheens paid the price for poor results in June 2019 and was replaced by former Leeds Rhinos and Warrington Wolves boss Smith.

Results have not improved, however, with Smith winning only eight of his 32 league games in charge.

The Robins have lost their first two Super League matches of 2021 but Smith is unperturbed.

“I think we’re all trying to get better and improve on what we’ve done,” he said as he reflected on the first two rounds.

“We’ve certainly got to keep doing that. We’re one of those teams and one of those clubs.

“We’re not going to turn it around overnight and click our fingers and suddenly everything is right.

“We’ve got to work hard for it and keep working hard, and keep determined to improve things. When we come through the other side we’ll be stronger for it.

“I think we’re on a different sort of journey to some other teams who have been at the other end of the table for a number of years, there’s no doubt about that.

“It’s about turning the culture and beliefs around, our own as well as how others look at us. We’re the only ones who can do that by working hard.”

Smith has left every club he has coached in a better state than he found it, playing an important role in Huddersfield Giants’ revival after overcoming a disastrous start in his first job in Super League.



Tony Smith after taking over at Huddersfield Giants
Tony Smith after taking over at Huddersfield Giants

The Giants lost their first 15 games under Smith on their way to relegation before bouncing back in style the following year and going on to firmly establish themselves as a Super League club.

“I still have those memories of doing it in the past and I understand the steps that are needed to go through that,” said Smith.

“Sometimes it’s a bit of hardship and sometimes there’s pain along the way. You’ve got to remain confident and positive and understand that it does take time.

“We want to do it sooner rather than later but sometimes impatience isn’t the right thing either. We need to not get frustrated and understand the processes that are needed to get to where we want to get to. We’re going through those steps.”

More recently, Castleford Tigers have provided the blueprint with Daryl Powell transforming the club’s fortunes since taking over in 2013.

The Tigers are determined to send Powell out on a high as he prepares to leave for Warrington at the end of the season.

Powell’s side have won their opening two Super League fixtures in impressive fashion and will be targeting success in the Challenge Cup, with KR first up in the third round on Friday.

“We’ve got to defend well because they’re a good attacking team,” said Smith.

“They defend pretty well too. They’ve got some good spirit within their camp and some good confidence happening at the moment.

“They’ve got some good experienced players and some good young players who are having a real crack for them at the moment. So they’ve got a good blend and it’s a good test for us.

“It took them some time to turn their big ship around and they’re doing well now. That’s what we’re striving to do too.

“You can’t turn these sort of clubs around quickly, it takes time. Sometimes it’s a bit of a gradual turn.

“We’re confident we’re turning our ship around. We’re heading in the right sort of direction.

“We’d like to be where Cas are in another year or two.”



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