Hull KR squad could have handled Tony Smith news better, says Danny McGuire

Rovers lost seven of eight games after the Australian announced his plan to leave.

By Press Association Published: 5 July 2022 - 3.27pm

Hull KR interim coach Danny McGuire accepts the squad could have dealt better with the initial announcement that Tony Smith was to leave the club.

McGuire has been placed in charge at Rovers until the end of the Betfred Super League season after Smith’s tenure as head coach was cut short on Monday.

Smith had originally intended to step down at the end of the campaign but his side suffered seven defeats in eight games after he made his plans public, prompting the club to take action.

Rovers lost seven out of eight games after Smith announced his plans to leave
Rovers lost seven out of eight games after Smith announced his plans to leave (Richard Sellers/PA)

“As a player you’re very focused on yourself and getting your own game right,” said McGuire, who had been Smith’s assistant coach.

“As long as you’re all right and you’re playing, and things are going well, that type of thing doesn’t really bother you.

“So I’d like to say it didn’t affect them but, on the flip side of that, performances probably say it did a little bit.

“I probably would say it did have a little bit of an impact. I think professionally we probably could have handled the situation a little bit better as a squad.”

McGuire, the former Leeds and Rovers half-back, will now oversee first-team affairs until Smith’s long-term successor Willie Peters arrives next season.

McGuire steps up to take charge after ending his illustrious playing career with Rovers
McGuire steps up to take charge after ending his illustrious playing career with Rovers (Richard Sellers/PA)

The 39-year-old faces a baptism of fire with Rovers, who have slipped to eighth in the table, playing arch-rivals Hull in Newcastle at Magic Weekend on Sunday.

McGuire said: “It’s interesting isn’t it? Throw me to the lions!

“But I always loved Magic Weekend as a player and the special feeling that it creates.

“It’s a great stadium to play at, a carnival atmosphere, and it gets the hairs on the back of your neck standing up.

“It’s a challenge, but brilliant. I love the derby. It’s not just another game, it’s a game that means a hell of a lot to a lot of people.”

Despite their poor form Rovers, who came within 80 minutes of reaching the Grand Final last season, are only two points outside the play-off positions.

McGuire said: “There’s no getting away from what a great job Tony did at the club. From where we came from two-plus years ago, when Tony took over, we have improved a hell of a lot.

“I think my role now is to continue that and actually grow a little bit towards the back end of the season.”

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