Much has been said lately of Tony Smith’s coaching future within rugby league.
Smith left Hull KR earlier on in the season following a dismal run of form before Brett Hodgson’s departure from Hull FC sparked up speculation that Smith could be heading for Rovers’ cross-city enemies.
That, of course, has been fuelled further by Smith himself saying he would be open to joining the Black and Whites with Hull and Hull KR legend Paul Cooke believing such a move is a ‘done deal.’
“There are going to be sweeping changes, but I think it’s a done deal,” Cooke told BBC Radio Humberside.
“Brett wasn’t an experienced coach, he coached in the reserves in Australia and became Hull FC head coach. It’s a big, big job and they’ve got more expectation than the Red and Whites because they won the (Challenge) Cup in 2016 and 2017.
“There is more pressure on Hull FC. It will be a really interesting few days. I think a deal is done and I would be disappointed if Adam (Pearson) hasn’t sounded Tony out.”
Having said that, are people just putting two and two together and getting five? Could Smith be heading elsewhere in Super League?
That leads onto the next open destination for 2023 – St Helens.
Though Paul Wellens is expected to be the ‘overwhelming favourite’ as Sky Sports pundit Jenna Brooks detailed last week, it would be hard to look past someone of Smith’s credibility and expertise for such an important role.
Smith has been in the frying pan at the Leeds Rhinos and then into the cooker at Warrington Wolves before transforming Hull KR from wet dough into beautifully-made bread.
If there is one man not fazed by pressure it is Smith – and that would make him the perfect candidate for Hull FC as well. With rising expectations at both the MKM Stadium and the Totally Wicked Stadium, there are few people that could perform under such conditions.
Whilst Saints hit a masterstroke with Kristian Woolf, the Black and Whites failed with Brett Hodgson.
It’s a time to be bold for Hull and Aussie Smith certainly fits the bill after coaching their bitter rivals on the other side of the Humber for the past three years.
Meanwhile, Saints need someone that can carry on the mantle set by Justin Holbrook – who has since struggled at the Gold Coast Titans in the NRL – and now Woolf – who himself will be heading for the Dolphins for 2023.
Smith has been superb in turning clubs around and getting them fighting again – he turned Warrington from basement dwellers to three-time Challenge Cup winners, whilst his time at Hull KR saw the Australian transform the Robins from relegation candidates to semi-finalists of the Super League play-offs.
At Saints, he wouldn’t need the dramatic transformation, in fact he would only need to slightly improve the Merseyside club as the standards are already firmly there.
Wherever Smith has gone, he has left the club in better hands than when he first joined. To do that at Saints would be truly remarkable but stranger things have happened.