Tony Smith on Hull FC transfer plans as he outlines expectations for new spine

TONY SMITH believes Jake Clifford and Tex Hoy will be well suited to Super League, but he doesn’t expect any further Hull FC signings as things stand.

Clifford and Hoy have both been signed from NRL side Newcastle Knights, as two of a total of five additions made for the 2023 campaign alongside fellow spine player Jake Trueman, from Castleford Tigers, and Leeds Rhinos duo Brad Dwyer and Liam Sutcliffe.

The 24-year-old halfback Clifford is the only one signed since Smith took over as head coach, following Jake Connor’s departure to Huddersfield Giants.

And the coach is confident of getting the best out of Clifford, who has played 67 times in the NRL with North Queensland Cowboys and the Knights, although both he and Hoy are unlikely to join the club before late November.

“He’s a young guy that probably suffered a bit because the rest of the team were suffering too,” Smith told League Express of Clifford’s difficult season at Newcastle. 

“But he’s got good experience, he’s played a lot of games in the NRL for the age he is. So he knows what it’s about. 

“There’s a lot to like about him, having watched him the last few years. I think he can help us and I think we can help him develop. 

“I’ve had good conversations with him and I’m very encouraged by his attitude. He and Tex played together and know each other particularly well and complement each other on and off the field.

“It’s different (in Super League) to what they’re used to so they have to adjust to that.

“They’ll make those adjustments quickly hopefully, and we’ll do everything possible to help them do that as a club and as a team. 

“It’s about us being able to help them play the way they like to play also. I think they’ll be well suited to our game over here.”

Smith made clear when he started in the job in September that players would have to leave Hull to make room for any new arrivals.

That remains the case and the Australian, who last week confirmed his backroom staff with Stanley Gene as assistant coach and Jason Davidson joining from Leeds Rhinos to be head of performance, doesn’t currently foresee any more moves happening.

Smith said: “Nothing is expected in that area. You don’t know what might happen – we had a movement we didn’t plan for but it happens, it allowed us to do the Jake Clifford business. 

“We’re not expecting anything more but who knows. I’m quite happy to plan with what we’ve got at the moment.”