Super League coach says star player “has to go”

Clubs like Leeds Rhinos, Wigan Warriors, Warrington Wolves and Hull KR have confirmed signings for the 2024 season as have Hull FC but they have also been forced to confirm a number of departures.

Star halfback Jake Clifford is headed back to the NRL with former club North Queensland Cowboys,

Meanwhile, hooker Brad Dwyer is expected to join Warrington Wolves as the replacement for St Helens bound Daryl Clark. His Hull FC exit is confirmed however.

As is Chris Satae’s and Adam Swift and Andre Savelio’s both of whom are expected to join Huddersfield Giants.

Now Tony Smith has addressed this on BBC Radio Humberside.

“Yeah, he’s played as good as he’s ever played, I think, Swifty,” he said as he revealed he “had to go” due to his living situation.

“It’s unfortunate that he’s had to go. I think it’s been a tough one for him. He’s going to be a tough one to replace, that’s part and parcel of rugby league and being a professional and some of those things are unavoidable.

“We’ve just got to be grateful for what he’s doing for us now and what he’ll do for us for the rest of the season. After that we’ll say our farewells and show our gratitude.

“I like the fact that he’s playing good rugby and enjoying himself and doing a good job.”

On Savelio, he said: “Yeah, yeah, Dre’s probably played one of his stronger games last week I think for the club. It’s part and parcel of the sport as well, sometimes when you start to play well, you attract attention from others and that’s all part of it.

“We weren’t rushing into making a decision. We needed to see some form and we needed to give him some time to get into some of that sort of form because he’s had a number of injuries and it’s been difficult for him to get into a flow and into form on a regular basis.

“It happens. We wish him well as well at the back end of the season, but it’s good that he’s finding some form for us and continues to do so. He’s got the ability to do some terrific things. We saw a few of those in the last game.

“He’s got some of the best skills available and he’s able to apply them from time to time and that’s good when he does.”

Both players are though fully committed for the rest of the season:

“Oh yeah, listen, you know, it can be distracting, all those things, particularly when the media’s talking about next year all the time. It can be distracting for the players and it can be distracting for the team but you know it shows what good pros they are.

“It shows their commitment and you know all the talk about next year you know can take away from the present you know and fortunately we’ve got a group of players who aren’t letting those things affect them and they’re cracking on with with what’s most important and that’s the game ahead of us.”