Tony Smith had already announced that he would be departing Warrington at the end of the Super League season before the final day came around but nevertheless, he is sure to be missed as he looks for a new challenge within the sport.
Over the course of a nine year stint at the club Smith has engineered great success that has seen Warrington win three Challenge Cups as well as two League Leader’s Shields.
Smith, as he had done while at the helm at previous clubs, came in when things weren’t looking too great for Warrington and quickly set about changing their fortunes. The relegation threatened side were soon back at the top table of the Super League under Tony Smith’s guidance, with Challenge Cup trophy wins being the pinnacle of what was a great 9 year start at the club.
It hasn’t been a great final campaign for Warrington and Smith though as they laboured to a bottom four finish in the Super League. Victory over Leigh was enough though to ensure that Warrington would once again be in the top tier after five wins from five in the qualifiers with only two games left to play. Not a great season but certainly a high for Tony Smith to bow out on.
Smith who is regarded as the most successful Super League manager of all time has prospered at whatever club he has been at, not just Warrington. The Huddersfield Giants were a fading force before Smith rejuvenated them, turning them into a feared top tier side. Leeds just seemed like they would be the perennial underachievers but under Smith’s stewardship they became regular Grand Final winners. With all this in mind, it not only shows just a great a coach he is but it also hints that he is likely to be back in the Super League before long working more of his magic.
Whoever comes in to replace Tony Smith at Warrington will have extremely big shoes to fill and a real job on their hands. There has been talk recently of Ex Wigan and South Sydney head coach Michael Maguire coming in, with suggestions that the Warrington board will look to Australia for Smith’s replacement. Interestingly though Cronulla assistant coach Steve Price has been named as favourite with a lot of bookmakers. He’s been the head coach before at the St George Illawarra Dragons and is said to fancy another stint as the main man, rather than being an assistant.
So it’s a sad farewell as Tony Smith departs as Warrington head coach after 9 great years in charge. Not only did he quickly turn the club around, he guided them to Challenge Cup wins and continued to guide them in retaining their Super League status year after year. He exits with Warrington still in the top tier and leaves them in a much better state now then he found them in when he first arrived many moons ago.