Tony Smith’s legacy at Leeds Rhinos can never be tainted.
Coming in after the good work of Daryl Powell, Smith was the man to add the finishing touches and create one of Super League’s all time greatest teams.
In 2004, he ended Leeds’ 32-year wait for a title and did it in some style losing a record low of just two league games as Leeds finished the season with 24 wins and 2 draws from 28 games scoring over a thousand points and finishing 9 points clear of the 2003 treble winning Bradford Bulls – the side the Rhinos would go on to beat at Old Trafford.
He then went on to deliver a first ever world title in 2005 before again guiding Leeds to Grand Final glory in 2007 with a dominant win over St Helens setting Leeds up for Super League’s first ever threepeat.
Thus, Smith’s Headingley legacy is indelible but it could be added to be his nephew Rohan.
Rohan is the son of former Wakefield boss Brian Smith and of course the nephew of Tony. He was unveiled as the Leeds boss on the same day his uncle announced he’d be leaving Hull KR at the end of the year and despite the fact some questioned the appointment, Smith looks like the perfect fit at Headingley.
Since he took over Leeds have gone from battling relegation to being one of the league’s form teams even making the play-offs despite their disastrous start to the season. In fact, Leeds would be top of the league based on the last 15 rounds in which Leeds have won 11 games.
On Friday, Leeds continued this good form with a terrific play-off win over Catalans which Tony Smith and his Golden Generation would have been proud of.
Always keen to improve his players and himself, Smith revealed that he has been in touch with his uncle Tony but mostly to talk about a chat up as a family.
However, he also revealed that he intends to get some wisdom from his uncle who he regards as one of the best coaches in Super League history because of his ability to take multiple clubs to big games as he did at Warrington and Hull KR as well as Leeds: “I’ve played phone tag and chatted to Tony just about catching up as a family more than talking about rugby but certainly at some stage I’d love to have some time with him and pick his brains.
“I don’t know all the stats but I’m sure he’s one of the most successful coaches in Super League the ability to take different clubs to big games and the ability to rebuild clubs, I’d be mad not to get some wisdom from him.”
Many were excited to see them come up against each other when Tony was still in charge at Hull KR but he left the Robins before fans had a chance to see them do battle.
However, we will now see them come up against each other in 2023 after Tony Smith was unveiled as the new Hull FC coach this weekend in a shock twist having only recently leaving his post at Hull KR. So, earmark Leeds’ battle with Hull FC next year as it should see uncle and nephew collide.