Hull FC coach Tony Smith compares Super League stoppages to NFL

Aaron Bower
Tony Smith, Hull FC

Hull FC coach Tony Smith

Hull FC coach Tony Smith said Super League is beginning to remind him of NFL with the constant stoppages throughout games after watching his side earn their first win of the season.

The Black and Whites are up and running for 2024 at the third attempt, after a late try from Morgan Smith secured a dramatic victory against London Broncos, who themselves remain without a win this season following their return to the top flight.

Sunday’s game was a stop-start affair, with a number of on-field decisions being checked by the video referee throughout – and Smith admitted afterwards that the contest was ‘slow’ and warned that if the trend continues, Super League games could take prolonged periods to finish: which is impacting the flow of the sport.

“It was just a slow game,” he reflected. “All the stoppages we have now to check stuff, we’ve got to get back to putting things on report to simply check things. Either that or we have the guy in the stand who just refs everything or we’ll be here until midnight.

“Some of those video referee calls took ages and our game loses the momentum and the flow, it’s becoming stop-start.”

Smith pointed to the difference in flow between Super League and the opening weekend of the NRL in Las Vegas, before admitting the games here are reminding him of NFL. He said: “We saw the NRL in America, and the big thing was how quick the game is, and we’re going the other way.

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“We’re getting like the stoppages in the grid-iron, where they’re checking everything, the NFL. We’re either one or the other, I don’t know. It’s a long afternoon when you’re stopping as much as we were today.”

Smith’s comments come off the back of a week when Super League coaches met with the RFL to review the opening weeks of the season and the disciplinary process following significant controversy in the opening rounds: of which Hull have been at the centre at following Nu Brown’s red card that led to a review of the head contact framework.

Smith described that meeting as ‘productive’ but conceded he is still confused by some aspects of where the game is going.

“It was very productive,” he said of the meeting. “We’re not going to get it all right straight away; we’re learning, they’re learning. We’re discussing things to get to the right levels of interference or the right levels of punishment on things.

“We’re not going to get it right straight away, I’m not sure we are at the moment but it’s good we’re getting opinions and we’re able to go away and review it and see if it is working. There were some aspects in the games this weekend that are still a little bit puzzling.”

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