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‘Players don’t want to live in Hull’ – Tony Smith says Hull FC struggle to attract signings

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Hull FC recorded their first win in 12 games in all competitions yesterday, with a much improved performance against the Leeds Rhinos in Super League. Three tries in ten minutes either side of half time gave FC a well deserved win, and a first win under interim Head Coach, Simon Grix. 

Hull began the season under former Leeds and Hull coach, Tony Smith. However, Smith was replaced in April after a run of abject performances from the Black and Whites. Whilst performances had broadly improved under Grix, with FC becoming more competitive in games, a first win had evaded the former Halifax coach.

Grix was also rocked by the departures of two of Hull’s biggest overseas names, as Nu Brown and Tex left the club. Brown returned to Australia for personal reasons, where as Hoy moved to Super League rivals, Castleford Tigers, after a public spat with ex-coach Smith.

Now, Smith has opened up on the difficulties he faced in brining overseas talent to Humberside strugglers.

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Tony Smith opens up on struggle to attract players to Hull FC

Leeds Rhinos

Credit: Imago Images

Smith, who also had spells in charge of Huddersfield Giants, Warrington Wolves and Hull KR, was part of the Sky Sports team covering the Hull versus Leeds game. Discussing why things had gone wrong during his time with the club, he believed the difficulty in attracting players to Humberside played an important role.

“There’s a whole lot of range of things that make it difficult for Hull. One is attracting players, you know, and getting high calibre players to want to come here. One because of the recent history and results, but two also, location. It is a difficult one.

“When you’re trying to get players to come over to England, many of them have got friends and other team mates around Manchester, Leeds, those kind of areas. And they want to be around that sort of network.

“It’s hard to get some of them to come to this part of the world. People from Hull love Hull. I liked Hull when I worked here, I really did.

Fellow Sky pundit, Jon Wilkin, is a native of the city. However, he agrees that there are challenges in attracting talent to Hull. He believes players want some of the attractions which cities such as Leeds and Manchester offer.

“Yeah, I think it is a challenge, you know, a competitive place to come to Hull. Yeah, I think there’s a lot of comfort blankets spaced around the north-west and Leeds for overseas players to come.”

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. John

    June 16, 2024 at 11:05 am

    Talked rubbish when he was coach at Rovers and FC. Still talking rubbish now he’s left.

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