Hull KR prop George King says he was shocked by Tony Smith’s decision to step down from his role as the club’s head coach.
Smith, 55, has announced that he will leave the Robins when his contract expires at the end of the season.
The Australian, who recently reached the milestone of 500 Super League games as a coach, steered Hull KR to the Super League semi-finals last season.
George King: I was shocked
Reacting to Smith’s bombshell, King said: “It is obviously disappointing news because I’ve got a really good relationship with Tony.
“I’ve known him for years and what he has done around the club has been great, it has been fantastic.
“He came in and told the lads an hour ago so it is disappointing. He will sorely be missed, especially by myself.
“I’ve had some good times with Tony at Warrington, we’ve been on a special journey and long may it continue. I don’t think Tony will be wanting it to settle here and neither will myself. Long may it continue this year and let’s finish this year on a high.
“I was shocked, I think everyone in the room was shocked.
“He’s obviously got his own personal issues which is fair enough but us as players will stay professional and stay grounded. We will get on with the job that is on hand and thats all we can do really. We’ve got to do it for the club.”
Hull KR are currently sixth in the Super League table. The Robins face Huddersfield in the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup at Elland Road.
Smith has confirmed he will be leaving Hull KR at the season’s end – but he has stressed that he won’t be taking charge of his former club Leeds.
Smith has an impressive coaching CV, which includes two Super League Grand Finals and a World Club Challenge with Leeds as well as three Challenge Cups with Warrington.