Tony Smith (rugby league, born 1967)
|Smith (centre) with the English national team in 2008|
|Full name||Tony Smith|
24 January 1967 |
Lismore, New South Wales, Australia
|1992–95||St. George Dragons|
Tony Smith (born 24 January 1967 in Lismore, New South Wales) is a British-Australian professional rugby league football coach and former player. He is currently Head of Coaching at English Super League club, Warrington Wolves. He is the younger brother of fellow rugby league coach, Brian Smith and uncle to Tongan national team coach, Rohan Smith.
Tony Smith played rugby league with the Illawarra Steelers, for whom he made 37 appearances and scored 9 tries, as well as the St. George Dragons for whom he played 28 games under the coaching of his older brother Brian Smith, including the 1992 NSWRL season's grand final, in which he played from the interchange bench.
Tony Smith's involvement with British Rugby League began by finishing his playing career in 1996 with a spell at Workington Town in the inaugural Super League season. His initial time at Workington was hampered by achilles injury suffered two seasons previous, made all the worse by Workington's poor form which saw them relegated to National League One. He also notoriously lived above a Workington fish 'n' chip shop with his wife, commenting "every morning I trudged to training and swore we'd never come back to this country." His most notable on-field contribution was on his début as he helped the club to an 18-18 draw with Blue Sox, one of only five points that the club secured in 1996 as they finished bottom of Super League. Smith's high bomb led to the side's third try, scored by Wayne Kitchin.
After returning home to Australia after finishing his playing career with Workington. Smith turned to coaching and applied for the job of Super League club Huddersfield Giants in September 2001. He first season in charge saw Huddersfield relegated to National League One, which consequently followed their dreadful start to the season losing 13 games in a row. A record number of consecutive defeats for a coach who held on to his job in British Rugby League
Conversely, Huddersfield returned to Super League the following year not losing a single game. This was culminated in their Grand Final win against Leigh which secured the team's promotion.
In 2000 he was appointed the head coach of the Japan national rugby league team for the Emerging Nations tournament. Unfortunately his spell wasn't successful as Japan failed and lost all three games in the Tournament.
The Australian was appointed by the Rhinos in a surprise move in November 2003 as the club decided to move incumbent Daryl Powell into an upstairs role for two years from the start of the 2004 season.
He guided Leeds Rhinos to their 2004 Super League Grand Final victory against the Bradford Bulls, their first Championship in 32 years and went on to beat the Canterbury Bulldogs in the 2005 World Club Challenge at Elland Road. Later that year they suffered an unexpected defeat by Hull in the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final and were edged out by the Bradford Bulls in the 2005 Super League Grand Final. Smith was named super League coach of the year however and signed a contract extension to the end of the 2006 season.
However, in the 2006-2007 season, he managed to sign the Kiwi full-back of the year 2006 Brent Webb, and started the league campaign strongly. With great last gasp wins over the Bradford Bulls at both Odsall and in The Millennium Magic, and two victories over saints, Leeds finished 2nd. They narrowly lost in a brutal game 10-8 at Saints, but beat Wigan to ensure their place in the final. On 13 October 2007, Leeds Rhinos beat Saint Helens 33-6 to become Super League champions, giving Tony Smith the perfect send off.
Smith has been announced as the successor Brian Noble to become the full-time coach of Great Britain. He will see out his Leeds contract until the end of the 2007 season and will combine the GB coaching role with that of performance director, heading up the Rugby Football League's technical department at Leeds Metropolitan University.
His first game in charge of Great Britain was the victory over France. The 3-0 whitewash of New Zealand followed starting with a 20-14 victory at Huddersfield, a 44-0 thrashing of the Kiwis in the 2nd test at Hull and a final test win at the JJB by 28 points to 22. Leeds Rhino players contributed hugely to these victories including Captain Jamie Peacock, half-backs Rob Burrow and Danny McGuire, 2nd Row Gareth Ellis and centre Keith Senior. As this was the last test series as a Great Britain side on home soil. Smith will now lead the England side into the 2008 World Cup. Only overseas touring sides will use the Great Britain name.
At the end of the year, Tony would be named the RLIF Coach of the Year for a successful 2007 season.
Smith became a naturalized British citizen on 8 September 2008 at a ceremony in Huddersfield.
On 5 March 2009, Warrington Wolves announced that Smith was to take over as their new Head Coach. Former coach James Lowes, is set to continue his role at the club, assisting Smith. Smith will continue to coach England on a part-time basis. His first game in charge of Warrington was a 14-20 defeat at home to former club Leeds Rhinos.
On 29 August 2009, he led Warrington to their first Challenge Cup final since 1990, and ultimately the team's first final victory since 1974, beating his former club Huddersfield Giants 25-16 and on 28 August 2010 he is leading Warrington to their second Challenge Cup against Smith's former club Leeds Rhinos.
Smith coached the Warrington Wolves to their first League Leader's Shield in the Super League era in 2011 and the Wolves became the first team in 6 years to break 1,000 points scored during one season (the last team to do so being Smith's Leeds Rhinos along with St. Helens and Bradford Bulls in the same season). In 2012 Warrington won the 2012 Challenge Cup Final after a 35-18 win against Leeds Rhinos.
- "Smith handed British citizenship". news.bbc.co.uk. 2008-09-07. Retrieved 2009-08-02.
- Rej, Arindam (2006-03-26). "0-60 in 80 minutes". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2008-11-25.
- "Tony Smith: Out of the frying pan into the fire for 'our' blue-chip leader". The Independent (London). 2008-10-12. Retrieved 2010-05-25.
- "Super League Team-by-team guide". telegraph.co.uk (UK: Telegraph Media Group Limited). 1 March 2001. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
- McRae, Donald (2007-10-23). "I've got a chance to do something special". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2010-05-25.
- "Myler gets England call". England Rugby League. 2008-09-29. Retrieved 2008-10-03.
- "Purdham earns World Cup call-up". BBC. 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2008-10-07.
- "Gleeson to lead new-look England". BBC. 2008-10-09. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
- "Leeds 6-30 Warrington". BBC. 2010-08-28. Retrieved 2010-08-28.
- "Warrington Wolves Are Challenge Cup Winners 2012!". Warrington Wolves Official Site. 25 August 2012. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
- Tony smith at yesterdayshero.com.au
- Tony Smith at nrlstats.com
- Smith takes up Great Britain job
- LIONS TURN TO RHINOS BOSS SMITH
- RHINO SMITH CONFIRMED AS GB COACH
- Rhinos coach Smith exiting Headingley
- Smith unveiled as GB coach
- Player statistics at rugbyleagueproject.org
- Coach statistics at rugbyleagueproject.org