Move to Roosters all business: Smith - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Move to Roosters all business: Smith

By Steve Jancetic 20/07/2009 06:29:54 PM Comments (0)

After 26 years in the NRL, Brian Smith decided it was finally time to look after No.1.

That was how the veteran NRL coach on Monday explained his decision to walk out on the final year of his contract with Newcastle to take up a lucrative deal with the Sydney Roosters starting in 2010.

Smith said there was no malice in his move, he was simply opting for the financial security of a four-year deal with the Roosters over a year-to-year proposition with the Knights which was dependent on the club's final position of the ladder.

With 522 games under his belt spread out over stints with Illawarra, St George, Parramatta and the Knights - plus two different coaching roles in English Super League - Smith said the opportunity to finally look after himself was too good to pass up.

"When (former Parramatta chief executive) Denis Fitzgerald tapped me on the shoulder a few years ago, it was a business decision," Smith said.

"Surely I'm allowed to make one myself somewhere along the line.

"I've been kicked in the shins I suppose along the way a few times and this time around, while it's hard emotionally, it wasn't a difficult decision to make from a business point of view."

While his exit from the Eels after ten years at the club was anything but harmonious, Smith said he would leave the Knights on good terms.

The reality of the situation was the two parties no longer needed each other as they once did.

Smith rebuilt the Knights following the departure of club legends Andrew Johns and Danny Buderus, with the resurrection enhancing Smith's reputation as the best makeover specialist since Carson Kressley.

But for a man who has never tasted premiership success, surely Smith was tempted to finish what he had started, with a title seemingly within reach for the Knights either this year or next.

"I don't think that's how it works," Smith said of the possibility he was throwing away a premiership win.

"At the end of every season you start again.

"We're just taking one piece out of the jigsaw."

Smith admitted his departure would come with some regret, having become close to the players during a stint in which he was almost run out of town following his 2007 clean-out.

While news of his departure shocked many, including the Newcastle players, Smith said he had been preparing for this moment for some time.

"Earlier in the year Burro (Knights chief executive Steve Burraston) and I sat down and spoke about whether the club was going to extend my contract - when it came back as a one-year offer, within reason, I think we all knew what that meant - I wasn't going to be here long-term.

"We all understand this is a business - sometimes it's tough and it's awkward, but it's a business deal."

Smith confirmed he and the players had made a commitment to focus on the remainder of this season, while Knights management have begun the long search for a replacement.

Assistant coach Rick Stone is the early favourite, his caused helped no end by a ringing endorsement from favourite son Andrew Johns.

But several coaches with NRL experience also appear keen on the job, with former Bulldogs mentor Steve Folkes throwing his hat in the ring.

Smith did his best to talk up the position.

"Whoever gets the coaching gig in Newcastle in 2010 going forward has got an ideal situation to come in and occupy in my opinion," Smith said.

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