Matty Smith on St Helens star’s victim of racial crime, coaching ambition and women being paid to play rugby league

ST HELENS Women’s coach Matty Smith will test his coaching nous when his side go up against the Warrington Wolves this weekend in the Challenge Cup.

The Quarter-Finals of the Women’s Challenge Cup means that Saints have just two games to win before they earn a trip to Wembley – and for Smith it would mean a perfect start to life as a head coach.

For Smith personally, he knew he always wanted to go into coaching and explained just how learning from past coaches

“When I retired last year I knew before that I wanted to go into coaching. I love the game as a player and halfback I was focused on what made teams ticked and how to beat the team.

“I was focused on the little details in the game and my natural progression was to go into coaching. I’ve got to learn in that respect and in terms of management and how things work on the coaching front, I need to take my time and learn from the likes of Paul Wellens.

“I’m probably at the best club to learn quick. I will learn a little bit quicker in the women’s game, not just taking sessions but picking teams and letting people down.

“I’ve had good coaches throughout my career, Daniel Anderson, Shaun Wane, Justin Holbrook, the list is endless of good coaches I have learned from.”

One player who has been in the limelight recently is Chantelle Crowl, who was subjected to a disgusting racial hate crime whilst holidaying in Spain.

“The incident was not nice that happened in Lloret de Mar, she has voiced her opinion on social media and everyone has seen that but everyone supports her,” Smith said.

“Us as a club support her and we will be there for her whatever she needs. She’s been a great character and been outstanding for me this part of the season.

“We don’t want anything like that to happen to anyone and Channy has got into an altercation. She wasn’t fit for selection on Sunday and it was a good idea keeping her out. It was the best case scenario for her and for the club.

“We will look at getting her back in but I will speak to her and see how she is. If she is fit to play then she will.

“I’ve spoken with her very briefly, she didn’t train yesterday, but she is now in a concussion protocol before she gets to play again. She is frustrated with that, she wants to play and is disappointed. What’s happened over there to her is not a nice thing.”

With professionalism in the women’s game a consistent question mark, Smith has identified that professionalism is something that already exists in his St Helens side.

“We have got a high percentage of clubs that play for England and their country and they lead the way with how they train. The young girls coming in look at them and see that is how you have to behave if you want to play for your country and be professional.

“We’ve got Jodie (Cunningham), for example, and she trains harder than some men and so do a lot of the girls. I wish we could have them in every day but unfortunately we don’t. Hopefully we get to a stage where we can do that.

“They want to be professional but we’ve got to take little steps at a time.”