It’s one of the most incredible rugby league stories to have seeped into the mainstream in recent seasons, with Tony Smith’s reign at Hull KR turning around a club in the doldrums.
When Smith took over midway through the 2019 Super League, Rovers were bottom of the table.
Wind the clock forward another two years and Hull KR were in the semi-finals of the Super League play-offs. No wonder, then, that Smith is reportedly attracting attention from his former club.
It was a remarkable transformation with the likes of Mikey Lewis and Jordan Abdull performing the best rugby of their careers so far under a man who knows how to bring through the youth.
Smith helped do just that with the Golden Generation at the Leeds Rhinos – where he won two Grand Finals – and later at the Warrington Wolves – where he won three Challenge Cups.
However, Smith’s contract runs out at the end of 2022 and, with the Rhinos reportedly chasing their former man, high-profile player agent Craig Harrison – also known as Show Me The Money UK – doesn’t understand why both KR and Smith have let it get to the point it has.
“I just don’t know why it would get to this stage,” Harrison said on The Full Eighty Minutes podcast.
“When it does it means that either one of the parties is willing to play out the contract and there’s nothing wrong that.
“I know fans never get this, but there’s nothing wrong with anybody like Tony saying ‘I’ve had a great time and I’ve helped reinvent the club’, that’s life, the fans should have no regrets.”
Harrison was also keen to stress just how good of a job Smith has done at KR, but that his future needs sorting quickly – though Harrison is unsure how the relationships at Leeds would work if Smith does move.
“He’s at that age where he needs to do what’s best for his family, he doesn’t need to prove anything.
“Everyone questioned him after Warrington – if he had lost his mojo, but he’s answered every critic and he’s come back in and steered them to a semi-final after taking over with Rovers at the bottom of the table.
“It needs to be worked out before March because you don’t want players coming in thinking Tony will be there and then he leaves the club.”