Warrington to split with Tony Smith, Super League’s longest-serving coach

Croak

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Authors: Rio Sports

Warrington will look to Australia and the NRL for their new coach after the Super League side confirmed they will part company with the competition’s longest-serving coach, Tony Smith, at the end of the current season and by mutual consent.

Smith has overseen one of the most successful periods in Warrington’s history since joining as coach in March 2009, helping the Wolves win the Challenge Cup on three occasions, as well as reaching three Grand Finals.

However, Warrington have struggled in 2017 and finished the regular season in Super League’s bottom four though they were able to secure a place in Super League next season with a Qualifiers victory against Leigh over the weekend.

“I’ve really enjoyed my nine years at the club and feel that it’s now in the best interests of all for us to go in different directions,” Smith said. “I’m grateful for the relationship I’ve had with the board, in particular [owner] Simon Moran, and I’d like to thank them for their support over the time I’ve been at Warrington.

“I’d like to think that while this has been a tough year, the club has progressed in the time I’ve been there in many ways, on and off the field, and is now in a position that means they can go on to bigger and greater things.”

The Wolves are in no rush to appoint Smith’s successor – but senior club officials will fly to Australia this week to meet a number of candidates. Reports in Australia this month had linked them with a move for Michael Maguire, the Australian who helped Wigan win a league and cup double in 2011.

However, there has still been no contact with Maguire, who is a strong contender for the vacant Gold Coast job in the NRL. The 43-year-old was sacked by South Sydney last week following a disappointing campaign with the Rabbitohs.

“Since joining, Tony has helped transform the club and it is testimony to his time at Warrington that the club’s expectations have been lifted,” said the club’s chief executive, Karl Fitzpatrick. “Unfortunately things have not worked out this year but when people reflect back on his time here I’m sure they will do so with many fond memories.”