Tony Smith: These players have fight – and I’m ready to fight with them

Category: On The Pitch

Tony Smith: These players have fight – and I’m ready to fight with them

Hull Kingston Rovers head coach Tony Smith has identified a willingness to fight in his players – despite losing late on against Wigan Warriors.

A last-gasp 40m drop-goal from Sam Powell broke Rovers’ hearts at KCOM Craven Park in a 19-18 defeat, but Smith saw real determination from KR as he looks to stamp his authority on the team in the coming months.

Speaking to Hull KR TV after his first game in charge at the club, Smith said: “I’ve got players in there that are willing to make some sacrifices and that means a lot.

“These players have got plenty of fight, and I’m ready to fight with them. Sticking by them, right through the year, makes a huge difference.

“I hope everyone gets behind them for the next few months. There’ll be all sorts of twists and turns that will go on. People get anxious as it gets closer to the end of the season but this is where the teams that pull together come through that period strongly. I’m confident that is going to happen for us.

“It could’ve gone either way, that’s for sure, and it took a 40-45m field goal to split the two teams. I thought we were unlucky with a disallowed try. If we had a video referee I think we may have got the nod on that one but it’s fine-line stuff.

“I’m disappointed for the players – they put in a great effort. We had a pretty disruptive week as a club, major changes and that can affect their emotions but also cause anxiety too. The boys really rolled their sleeves up and had a dig.

“I can only be grateful for their efforts. There are areas that we certainly need to sharpen up in and execute better in, and that’s what I’ll get a chance to work on from hereon in.”

Smith also gave an injury update, following problems sustained to centre Kane Linnett (head) and utility man Danny Addy (hamstring) and included an update on Danny McGuire (calf).

“We believe Kane is OK – the doctor went with him to hospital as a precaution. Everything is functioning but we just want that to be ticked off,” Smith said.

“Danny McGuire pulled his calf muscle five minutes into his first session with me which was gutting. Danny Addy’s sustained a hamstring injury but I’m not sure on the severity yet.

“We could have the experience of Mitch Garbutt, Adam Quinlan and Tommy Lee back next week for the visit of Warrington, but we could have a few unavailable too.”

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