Tony Smith: Warrington boss says officials need more resources and support

Tony Smith
Warrington coach Tony Smith has won Super League titles at Leeds and Challenge Cups at Warrington

Tony Smith would like to see more resources and time dedicated to the recruitment of match officials.

Smith played in the first Super League season for Workington in 1996, and coached Huddersfield and Leeds before taking charge of Warrington.

Former referee Steve Ganson currently heads the officials department at the Rugby Football League.

"I don't think we pay much attention to them unless they stuff up and that's really unfair," Smith said.

He told BBC Radio Merseyside: "I'd like us to have a look at how we develop players and referees - young people that are coming through.

"It needs to be looked at to make sure we're recruiting the right people."

Progress

Much has changed in domestic rugby league's top tier in the 20 years since the opening game of the summer era saw Paris Saint Germain beat Sheffield at the Charlety Stadium in the French capital.

Only four teams to have survived the top division for all of the previous 20 seasons, while attendances and viewing figures have risen.

"There's progress - some of it has been slow but there is progress," Smith added.

"I think it's taken off a bit at the moment, we're getting a bit of interest. The way the game has been promoted now, I'm a bit more excited about."

England and the Super League

Ben Currie
Ben Currie is an example of the talent Tony Smith has nutured for England at Warrington

Smith has been on both sides of the international divide, having coached Great Britain and England in addition to his club commitments.

Providing players for the national team is an important process, through the first grade and academy sides.

The loss of reserve grade rugby has impacted on opportunities for fringe players, with the dual-registration system not universally backed within the sport.

That system allows clubs in the Super League to establish links with sides in the Championship and League One, giving players a chance of competitive action.

"We don't have as many players but it doesn't stop us from giving them the best development as well," Smith said.

"It's important for us to do that. The international team relies on development of each individual club and if we're not strong and healthy across the clubs, it restricts how good the national team can be.

"I'd like to see the salary cap grow and for us to revisit what it's doing and whether we're getting the right benefit.

"I'm an advocate for expanding the game, not reducing teams and we're trying to get reserve grades going, while some are trying to reduce players they have within the club."

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