Confusion reigns as Tony Smith takes charge of Leeds Rhinos for friendly

Dewsbury Rams confirmed over the off season that Assistant Coach Tony Smith has left the club to take a position at Leeds Rhinos.

The former Great Britain and England International Smith joined the Rams in July as Liam Finn’s Assistant but left the club to take a new post at Leeds Rhinos as their academy coach.

On his departure Smith said, “I’ve loved my time at Dewsbury throughout, I’ve got nothing but good words to say about the club. I had no intentions of leaving and it’s been a very difficult decision for me to move on.

“There’s a very good squad in place for next year, I would probably say that it’s better than last year’s so it’s going to be exciting, the pressure will be on, but a good season is what the fans deserve.”

“I’ve seen some coaches in my time in rugby league but I can tell you now that Liam Finn is and will continue to be an excellent coach.”

Liam Finn said of Smith: “We knew at some point Casper wanted to get back involved with youth development and it was part of our discussion before he came to the club.

“Unfortunately for us it has happened a bit sooner than we would’ve liked but when an opportunity at one of the biggest clubs in the game comes up, understandably it was one he couldn’t miss out on.

“He’s been a breath of fresh air for me and the group and I thank him for his help since taking the job, it was a pleasure working with him again. He still has a big influence on our squad for 2023 with many lads who’ve come through with his youth coaching at Castleford.

“I’d just like to say good luck to Casper and we’re delighted that we’ve been able to have him at the club, even if it was just for a short time.”

Smith had spells at Castleford Tigers, Wigan Warriors and Hull FC during his playing days and previously coached Wakefield Trinity.

He played in the 1995 World Cup Final but of course his name lends itself to confusion given the former Leeds Rhinos coach Tony Smith who is perhaps more well known these days than the Smith working in the Rhinos academy.

Tony Smith the former Rhinos Head Coach of course led Leeds to two Grand Final wins in 2004 and 2007 and is set to take charge of Hull FC in 2023 while his nephew Rohan is in charge of the Rhinos.

This all led to plenty of confusion today as the Rhinos sent a young team led by Tony Smith to take on Hunslet.

One fan clearly seemed to thing the Rhinos meant Rohan before the situation was explained to him.

One fan jokingly welcomed back Tony Smith who was linked with a return to Headingley last year.

One fan quite rightly noted that there was no mistake made.

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