Smith aims to be England's secret weapon - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Smith aims to be England's secret weapon

21/10/2010 09:21:43 AM Comments (0)

Sydney Roosters coach Brian Smith is hoping to make a difference as he lends a helping hand to England's Four Nations campaign.

The 56-year-old former Hull and Bradford boss, who guided the Roosters to this year's NRL Grand Final, has been enlisted by England head coach Steve McNamara as performance adviser for the tournament, starting with Saturday's opening game against New Zealand.

"I've been able to give Steve a bit of specific knowledge about almost every player in the other teams," Smith said.

"I've told him about the way referees tend to rule on various situations, trends in the game and little odds and ends about individual players, about what makes them good."

Smith, the older brother of Warrington's former England coach Tony Smith, had his first hands-on involvement with the tourists during last Saturday's 18-18 draw against the New Zealand Maori, acknowledging that changes need to be made after the visitors gave up an 18 point lead.

"It was pretty evident that we had guys on different pages," he said.

"We were going pretty well for a while but we lost it under pressure and I think that was good for the group to say 'oops, we need to fix this up'.

"I would say the guys are really well coached but they use different systems, particularly around the ruck defence and tackle technique and adjustments with line speed.

"We've been able to work on that this week."

Smith says he has been impressed with the calibre of player in the 24-man England squad.

"I was a little taken aback to begin with as to how ego-less this group is and how responsive they are to each other and to Steve and the rest of the staff," he said.

"I thought I might have had a few things to help in the background but there's been nothing there. They're committed and hopefully they're coordinated."

Smith is excited at the prospect of once more seeing Australian-based forwards Sam Burgess and Gareth Ellis in action for England and has backed the appointment of new captain James Graham.

"I can understand why Steve has selected James as captain," he said. "He's a businessman with footy.

"I like the way, in almost every meeting he's had ... from my point of view at least, have been right on the money.

"He's got leadership skills and is quite well spoken.

"Ellis and Burgess are ready to burst out this weekend with big games.

"Having said that, I think New Zealand have got a fantastic chance of winning this year.

"They've got an excellent crew of players and they have been under Stephen Kearney for three or four years. It's been about systems and organisation and I think they've got it down pretty well.

"It's going to be a big challenge on Saturday night."

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