Five things you didn’t know about Brian Smith

When Wakefield appointed Brian Smith as their new head coach, a lot of eyebrows went north.

The Australian is one of the most well respected coaches in the game after spells at NRL clubs such as the Parramatta Ells, Newcastle Knights and Sydney Roosters.

Whilst we know a lot about Smith’s previous exploits, here are five things you may not have known.

He was one of the original Super League head coaches.

In 1996, Bradford Northern changed their name to the Bradford Bulls for the inaugural Super League season.

The change infuriated the majority of fans, but in a superb PR strategy, the Bulls appointed Brian Smith as head coach after he had left St. George Dragons following a successful four year spell.

Smith would only stay at the Bulls for a year after finishing third, but he did reach the infamous 1996 Challenge Cup final, which Bradford lost to St Helens 40-32 despite Robbie Hunter-Paul’s hat-trick.

Smith’s side that day included current Leeds head coach Brian McDermott, who he will go up against in his first match in charge of the Wildcats if he is in control of the team.


He’s never won a major trophy

Smith’s gut-wrenching Challenge Cup defeat is one of many final defeats he has suffered over the years, which has staggeringly left his trophy cabinet rather bare considering his illustrious career.

His first taste of final heartache came in 1989, as his Hull FC side lost the Premiership final to Widnes.

Back-to-back NRL final defeats in 1992 & 1993 as head coach at St George followed, before the 1996 Challenge Cup anguish.

After his departure from Bradford he went to Paramatta Ells, and whilst they were minor premiers in 2001, they lost the NRL Grand Final to Newcastle Knights.

Smith’s most recent taste of final defeat was in 2010 when his Sydney Roosters side lost to St. George Illawarra Dragons in the NRL Grand Final. Smith’s team that day featured Lopini Paea, who has just left the Wildcats.

He is Tony Smith’s brother

Yep, Brian is the 13-year older brother to current Warrington head coach, Tony.

Tony played under Brian at St. George, and was on the bench in the 1992 NRL Grand final. Despite both being head coaches for a number of years they haven’t locked horns in a professional game.

He was the head coach of the USA.

In one of the more bizarre appointments of recent years, Smith was briefly appointed as head coach of the USA national team in 2013.

When we say briefly, we mean two months, as Smith was forced to quit due to a family commitment.

He was England’s assistant coach

Sticking with the international link, Smith was the assistant to Steve McNamara for England’s Four Nations campaign in 2010, in which England finished third. Smith was in charge at Sydney Roosters at that point, and four years later McNamara would become assistant coach at the club, a role he still maintains.

More on Brian Smith’s appointment can be found in this week’s League Express, in stores now.