Smith Roosters switch smart: Elliott - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Smith Roosters switch smart: Elliott

By Ed Jackson 18/07/2009 08:46:01 PM Comments (0)

Penrith mentor Matt Elliott says the Sydney Roosters' move to sign Newcastle coach Brian Smith for next season is a smart one.

Smith's switch was confirmed on Saturday, with the 55-year-old to take over from current Roosters coach Brad Fittler at the end of the year despite still having a season to run on his deal with the Knights.

A former Parramatta and St George coach, Smith has transformed the Knights from cellar-dwellers into finals contenders in his three seasons in charge and the Roosters will be hoping he can do the same at the Bondi Junction-based club.

Elliott says his good friend won't be afraid to make changes at the embattled club like he did when he arrived at the Knights and has the track record to suggest he'll be a success.

"I think it's a pretty astute move by the Roosters, very smart move," Elliott told AAP.

"I feel for Freddy (Fittler), he took them to the semis in fine style last year and I think that Freddy's probably suffered from personnel that aren't motivated, to be frank.

"He'll (Smith) make changes, he did that at Newcastle and was questioned for it and in those circumstances it's hard when people are asking you those questions, but he knew where he was going with that team and that club.

"He knew he had to make changes and I think the changes he's made have been outstanding ones."

Elliott added he fully expected Fittler to coach in the future despite his horror year this season with the Roosters, where the club has been embroiled in several off-field dramas and sits last on the NRL ladder.

"Absolutely," Elliott said when asked if the former Penrith player would coach again.

"I don't know whether he'll feel his future's away from the Roosters, I know how fond of the club he is.

"I guess it was the control of stuff off the field that became a challenge for him. Talk footy with Freddy, he knows footy and I really feel for him, really do."

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