“I was not sure I was coming to the game” – Tony Smith reflects on hectic day

Hull KR head coach Tony Smith revealed he was only permitted access to today’s game against Salford this morning.

On a hectic day that saw both clubs return inconclusive and positive Covid-19 tests, Rovers prevailed 24-22 in a see-saw game at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

“When we got back from France we had Saturday off,” said Smith. “We trained Sunday as a group then I gave them Monday off to freshen up.

“The team who trained on Sunday looked nothing like what played today.

“That is as far as I will go into it but both teams had those circumstances today.

“Inconclusive tests – I think they had three, we had two. I was not even sure I was coming to the game.

“At 9:20am this morning, I got the clearance that I would be coaching today.

“At one stage, Stanley (Gene), who is filling in as kit man, was going to be head coach on the bench with Hodgo (David Hodgson) running the messages.”

Elaborating on the difficulties of coaching through a pandemic, Smith went into detail on the strain it has caused himself, his players and the club’s staff.

“I have changed my team four times since yesterday,” he said. “That is just the reality of things at the moment.

“There were a couple of players who thought they were playing this morning that have not played.

“I had two players who I sent home from training today. They ended up going home, packing their bags and boots before coming and playing today.

“It is no excuse, this is just disruption. I am glad we won so I can say this is hard and these are hard circumstances.

“I also had another young man who rang up sick this morning. These are the things going on behind the scenes at the moment.

“Like I said a few weeks ago, hats off to all the players who are involved and many of the staff as well.

“There are a lot of staff who are living from day-to-day in terms of planning their lives, such as doctors and physios, who do not know whether they are working on a Tuesday or a Thursday in three weeks’ time.”

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