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Tony Smith hits back at Richie Myler over his approach to recruitment at Hull FC

Tony SMith Richie Myler Hull FC

Former Hull FC boss Tony Smith has called into question Hull FC and their recruitment policy so far under Richie Myler in an apparent swipe at his former employees.

Smith was relieved of his duties at Hull FC after a poor run of form saw the side concede 50 points in three out of four games and ever since the club have been led by interim head coach Simon Grix. They have confirmed that John Cartwright will take charge from next season on a three-year deal and that hasn’t been the only off-field appointment.

In the aftermath of Smith’s dismissal the club appointed Richie Myler as Director of Rugby and under the former Leeds Rhinos player, who Smith coached at one point, the club have set about an aggressive recruitment policy as they aim to turn their fortunes around.

That has seen confirmed signings such as Tom Briscoe, Jed Cartwright and Yusuf Aydin, with John Asiata also confirmed as signing for the side from next season. There have also been reports that they will sign Amir Bourouh, Ollie Holmes and Zak Hardaker.

Such heavy investment has now been questioned by their former boss during his analysis before the club’s win over Leeds Rhinos on Saturday.

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Tony Smith questions Hull FC recruitment policy

Hull FC coach Tony Smith

Credit: Imago Images

Many of the players that Hull FC have been linked with, barring Bourouh, are older players as well and Tony Smith has claimed that it’s an indication of the club failing to have worked with their academy well enough. That’s in spite of the fact that the club have set about re-signing many of their exciting youngsters including Logan Moy, Nick Staveley, Lewis Martin, Harvey Barron and most recently Jack Charles.

Smith claimed on Sky Sports: “Of course, of course. The whole thing’s linked up. You know that’s just what you do in the club, particularly with your junior stuff.

“When I say junior stuff, I mean you need to be connected to the coaches of your junior team, you need to understand what’s coming through the academy in order to know which direction to go.”

He also referenced a point made by Jon Wilkin that Hull FC have failed to attract the right players from overseas to support their young stars coming through, with Wilkin referencing the Jake Clifford situation as being detrimental to the side.

On that failure to land stars, Smith said: “Sometimes it’s a case of you have to take risks. You have to take risks. I think Jon nailed it there on recruitment. You’re not getting the players that you sometimes need.”

He had previously explained that whilst he was at Hull KR, the club brought Shaun Kenny-Dowall in ‘on the cheap’ in a move that transformed the club’s fortunes. Hull FC have failed to hit big on overseas recruitment in quite some time which is what Smith alluded to as he called on the club to have a more ‘connected’ policy that incorporates the academy.

Given the vast investment in academy players of late, it’s perhaps a case of a former employee scorning their old employers, but Smith and Wilkin were both right in the sense that Hull FC have failed to land the right gambles with their overseas stars.

The recent signings of Franklin Pele and Jayden Okunbor have left the club on loan, Nu Brown and Tex Hoy were released and Jake Clifford left within a year. Hopefully for Hull FC fans, Richie Myler’s next crop of players will fare better.

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