“I’m glad it has been raised” – Tony Smith supportive of extra protection for players following St Helens’ season-ending injuries

Josh McAllister
Hull head coach Tony Smith and St Helens boss Paul Wellens.


Hull FC boss Tony Smith has declared his support in helping the game change its ways to further protect players following two season-ending injuries within the St Helens camp.

Forwards Alex Walmsley and Agnatius Paasi suffered cruel blows to their years in the Challenge Cup semi-final defeat to Leigh Leopards, leaving Paul Wellens furious with the governing body’s failure to protect its players.

John Asiata’s controversially low tackles injured four opposition players in the clash, according to Wellens, including Morgan Knowles and Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook, although the technique was not illegal in the law of the game.

The Leopards skipper was cited in the match review minutes for alleged dangerous tackle, but was not charged.

It saw the St Helens boss open his weekly press conference with a statement on Tuesday afternoon, taking aim at the governing body.

Now Hull head coach Smith has backed more changes in order for the game to protect its players.

Speaking ahead of his side’s clash with Huddersfield in Super League on Sky Sports, Smith was asked for his views on the incidents by presenter Brian Carney.


Tony Smith: “It’s certainly something we need to address”

“I’m not sure that the RFL could currently have charged anybody with those tackles, I’m really not sure,” he responded.

“But I would like to support that we need to look at changing techniques and changing methods within our sport in order to protect it and its players.

“We’ve been doing that for many, many years and we still do for example on kickers, where you can’t charge down on their legs.

“We’re making adjustments all the time.

“What we really want within our sport I think is tacklers to be within control of the velocity and where they hit people.

“Now we may have to make some adjustments if that style of tackle is going to injure people.

“It’s certainly something we need to address and I’m glad it has been raised

“I’m not glad it’s taken injuries for it to be raised, but I’m glad it’s been raised.

“I’m very supportive of let’s go fathom this out and work out how to come up with protection for our players.”

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