Despite the Rhinos downturn in form, which ran from mid-August to mid September, the win at St. Helens a fortnight ago showed that the coach has the ability to turn his side around. Disappointment amongst the fans at missing out on the 'hubcap', for finishing as league leaders, was short-lived as minds turned to securing tickets for the trip to Old Trafford.|
Smiths record this season at Leeds is nothing short of sensational. This season the Rhinos have averaged over forty points a game, whilst conceeding just eighteen. We've hit sixty+ points on seven occasions (league and cup) and nilled Leigh, SM Pia, and most notably Wigan Warriors. In league and cup the Rhinos won twenty seven games whilst losing just seven (74%), and the games lost were by margins of 32, 17, 16, 14, 8, 2, and 1, not a hammering in sight.
Smith has become the darling of the SouthStand and those who have supported the club through thick and thin appreciate the success that he has brought us. The knee-jerk 'Smith Out' reactions of a small minority tell more about those making them than they do about Smith. Shrewd signings, and the continued nurturing of the best young talent have proved an explosive and successful blend.
I've always found Tony very approachable, knowledgeable, and willing to discuss. His heart is in the right place and he coaches Leeds with a passion that the fans demand. Like his adversary on saturday night, Brian Noble, he is difficult to dislike, earning respect from his demeanour within the game.
Saturday night signals the end of Tonys original contract at the Rhinos, but thankfully Hetherington now has him on a rolling contract. While ever the Rhinos continue to be successful (and two finals in a season is successful!) then Tony Smith will stay at Leeds.
A round of applause all round for the coach of the season, long may the successful reign of king Tony continue.