Smith backs Poching for Wakefield job

Hull KR coach Tony Smith is backing his former assistant Willie to land the head coaching role at Wakefield Trinity on a permanent basis, following Trinity’s 25-18 victory against the Robins last Thursday night.

Wakefield’s victory caused Rovers to drop out of the play-off places, putting extra pressure on Smith and his players for tonight’s visit to Huddersfield Giants after they suffered two defeats in a row.

Poching’s career has taken in assistant spells to Smith at Leeds Rhinos, Warrington Wolves and Hull Kingston Rovers, before he moved to Wakefield to become an assistant to Chris Chester.

Following Chester’s departure two weeks ago, Poching has become the club’s interim head coach and two out of three victories have put him in the driving seat for a permanent appointment.

And that would gain Smith’s approval.”Willie and I are good friends,” said Smith.

“Willie has done a great job for Wakeield so far. He has the team playing well and they did some really good things against us.

“We are disappointed with how we performed overall. Had we done a few things a bit better we might have got a different result, but that’s Rugby League and I have to congratulate Wakefield on their success. I’d be happy to see Willie appointed.”

And Smith is expecting a tough game tonight (Monday) at Huddersfield, despite the Giants being out of the running for a play-off spot.

“This is the most important week of the year so far and so will the following week be. I’m expecting Huddersfield to try their hardest. I know Ian Watson well enough to know he won’t be going too experimental and he will want to get the win as much as we will.

“All coaches try to get our teams to perform the best we can every week and that has little to do with whether you are going to make the finals.”

The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.