Hull KR confirm Willie Peters as new head coach from 2023

Josh McAllister
Hull KR Willie Peters

Hull KR have confirmed the appointment of Willie Peters as the club’s new head coach from 2023 on a three-year deal. 

He will take over from Tony Smith, who announced that he will leave the club at the end of the current season.

The 43-year-old joins the club after six years in the NRL as an assistant coach. He has spent time with Manly Sea Eagles (2017) and South Sydney Rabbitohs (2018-19). Peters is currently with Newcastle Knights since 2020.

During his playing career, Peters made 76 appearances in the NRL across stints with South Sydney Rabbitohs and St George Illawarra Dragons. The former half-back also featured in Super League with Wigan, Widnes and Gateshead.

Willie Peters on new role

“I always had an ambition to go back and coach in the Super League,” Peters said.

“When the opportunity came up, it just felt right. I’ve got so many good memories of when I played in Super League. I’m just grateful for the opportunity and I can’t wait to come back over there.

“I’m joining a team that’s well established and definitely on the rise. I’ve worked with a number of quality coaches and taken a lot away from what their strengths are. But of course, I’m going to do it my way.

“We don’t need to change too much in the way we’ll play our footy. Naturally, I’ll have my spin on things and some principles that I think are important.

“I’ve just got to build on the foundations that Neil (Hudgell), Paul (Lakin), Tony (Smith) and the staff have set on the back of their hard work. So for me, it’s just about building on the great work people have done so far.”

Hull KR CEO on appointment

Hull KR chief executive, Paul Lakin added: “From the first time we spoke to Willie it was clear that he understood the progress we have made under Tony. Our philosophy on recruitment, the quality of our squad, the passion of our fanbase and how he could build and develop our team further over the next three years.

“Willie knows Super League well. He’s a fan of the competition. He has six years NRL assistant coaching experience across three clubs with high-quality cultures, who have consistently reached the play-offs. He initially worked as a development coach and is clearly passionate about promoting youth at every opportunity, again a key discipline that we believe in as a club.

“Both former coaches and players who have worked with Willie spoke in such high regard of his coaching abilities. With Willie’s significant coaching experience, his initial development coaching background and his clear understanding of the Super League game, we believe he is the ideal fit for Hull KR, to progress from the firm foundation stones set in place.

“It is vitally important that we make this announcement now to enable retention and recruitment discussions to happen immediately whilst we remain fully focused on the 2022 season.”