Tony Smith makes recruitment predictions

Hull KR head coach Tony Smith does not expect a flurry of activity in the transfer market despite clubs being free to speak to off-contract players.

As of last week, clubs were allowed to start holding discussions with players from rival clubs who are off-contract at the end of the year.

However, the Robins coach insisted recruitment wasn’t at the top of the club’s priority list at the minute and didn’t foresee other clubs getting business done during the uncertainty.

“Recruitment at this stage is a dream for all of us,” he said.

“First and foremost we need to get our leagues back playing. I think it’s an awkward situation anyway, we’re asking players to take pay cuts and considering signing people, either retention or coming in. I’d hate to make some decisions on my players off-contract based on what they’ve been able to produce at the moment. I’m surmising, but we’ve all asked our players to take pay cuts and before being able to kick another ball we send them a letter to say they can fish around because we aren’t offering you a deal. I don’t think that’s right.

“The whole landscape has changed and our focus is on getting players back when possible, after that, there needs to be some real discussions once things become clear. I’m going to say it’s the least of our real issues.

“I think there are more things to do that we can look forward to being excited about more than signing, I hope soon we have plans and dates about our immediate futures, after that we all need to spend some time to work out how we’re going to deal with next year in terms of recruitment and logistics. I have heard a suggestion on a reduction in salary cap, all of those things need to be considered.”

The matter of promotion and relegation is also set to significantly affect how, and when, the Robins can recruit. Smith has previously stressed the importance of getting away from the bottom of the table to make them a more appealing proposition for clubs, but the prospect of no relegation would provide instant security for another year at least.

That would allow Smith to improve his squad, however, he reiterated that the same challenges would remain applicable.

“As much as we would like to know where our position is within the league, If we do get to a position where there’s no relegation next year it still wouldn’t be high on the agenda right now.

“I would like to think there’s a bit more sensitivity, we would at some stage get to a point of doing our retention and filling in holes, but we’re a while away from that.”