Hull FC job ‘little more special’ for Tony Smith due to family connection

Tony Smith says taking on the Hull FC job is “a little more special” because he is following in the footsteps of his older brother, Brian.

Brian Smith, 13 years older than 55-year-old Tony and father of current Leeds Rhinos head coach Rohan Smith, coached the Airlie Birds between 1988 and 1990 in the early stages of a distinguished three-decade coaching career.

He reached the Premiership final in his first season, but is credited with a longer-lasting impact on the club, as Tony is well aware.

“There is a bit of nostalgia there,” said Tony, whose previous role was at Hull KR. 

“I spoke to my eldest brother, who has had and still has a tremendous influence on my career, about coming and joining a former club of his. He said I’d finally come to the right one! 

“He’s very proud that I’m here and that means a whole lot to me, from somebody I really respect.”

After playing under Brian at St George, Tony moved to the UK with Workington Town and then embarked on his own coaching career on this side of the world.

But his first taste of the British game came during his brother’s time at Hull, a memory that has stayed with him ever since. 

Smith said: “I went to the Boulevard to watch his team, up in that gantry. It was my first ever English game to watch. That had an influence on me. 

“Does it tie in? Absolutely. There is a bit of something special in those memories. 

“I think it was 1989 and I was 22 at the time. It was my first time to the UK and first time to an English game. 

“Of course it’s going to have a big nostalgia hit for me, to come back and be here all those years later, getting to wear the badge myself.

“If I can have any sort of impact near to what Brian Smith did, I think we’ll be alright.”

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