Tony Smith: Warrington Wolves head coach to leave at end of 2017 season

Tony Smith and Chris Hill
Tony Smith, with skipper Chris Hill, won the League Leaders' Shield last season with Warrington

Warrington will part company with head coach Tony Smith at the end of the 2017 Super League season.

Smith, who took over at the Wolves in March 2009, will leave by mutual consent after securing top-flight status in the Qualifiers in 2017.

In his nine years at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, Smith helped Warrington to three Challenge Cup wins, as well as three losing Grand Final appearances.

"I've really enjoyed my nine years at the club," Smith said.

"And I feel that it's now in the best interests of all for us to go in different directions."

Former Wigan and South Sydney coach Michael Maguire has been heavily linked with Warrington, particularly since he parted company with the Rabbitohs this past week.

Smith's successes

Warrington's Michael Monaghan with the 2009 Challenge Cup
Warrington's 2009 Challenge Cup win was their first major honour since the 1974 success

Smith added a League Leaders' Shield to Warrington's honours board last season in addition to losing Challenge Cup and Grand Final appearances, but his side struggled this term, finishing in the bottom four of the Super League table.

However, Saturday's win against Leigh ensured the Wolves would return to the top tier next season after winning five from five in the Qualifiers with two games to play.

Before taking over at Warrington, Smith guided Huddersfield into Super League and then enjoyed great success at Leeds Rhinos ending a 32-year wait for the Championship in the 2004 Grand Final win.

He also coached Great Britain to a 2007 whitewash of New Zealand in their Test series, and was in charge of England at the 2008 Rugby League World Cup.

Wolves owner Simon Moran said: "We would like to thank Tony for everything he has done for us here at Warrington. He came in 2009 and turned the club around.

"He's seen us to four Challenge Cup finals lifting the trophy on three occasions. We've also secured two League Leaders' Shields and made three Grand Final appearances during his time in charge. Once again we thank Tony and wish him all the best in his future."

Analysis

BBC rugby league correspondent Dave Woods

Warrington will look to Australia to find Smith's replacement, with Dean Pay and Michael Maguire the early frontrunners.

But Smith has been the most successful coach in the Super League era.

He turned a failing Huddersfield Giants back into a respectable top-flight team with his first appointment in 2001.

At Leeds he transformed a club that had underachieved for three decades into regular Grand Final winners and he took over a relegation-threatened Warrington to lead them to three Challenge Cup wins and a place at Super League's top table.

He's likely to appear at another Super League club before long.

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