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Brian Smith signed to save Roosters

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Brian Smith signed to save Roosters

Date
July 19, 2009

Adrian Proszenko and Daniel Lane

BRIAN SMITH will coach the Sydney Roosters next year.

Yesterday morning Smith informed Newcastle chairman Robert Tew of his decision to shift to Bondi Junction despite being contracted to the Knights.

The Sun-Herald can reveal the Knights offered the veteran coach a three-week window to explore other opportunities, after he sought their permission.

The shock development ends Brad Fittler's hopes of retaining the post past this season. There had been speculation that Melbourne assistant Stephen Kearney would take over in 2010, but the club instead opted for an experienced campaigner. Former Northern Eagles coach Peter Sharp was also linked to the post but will instead join Parramatta as Daniel Anderson's assistant next season.

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The Roosters' season has been marred by off-field controversies involving high-profile players, placing added pressure on Fittler.

Smith was seen as an attractive proposition because of the way he rebuilt the Knights. He cleared the decks when he took over from Michael Hagan in 2007 and they are now on track to qualify for the finals.

Coincidentally, Smith's son, National Youth Cup coach Rohan, is one of the candidates in line to take over should the club decide to promote internally. However, assistant coaches Rick Stone and Trent Robinson are more likely to get the nod if the Knights look in-house.

It's understood Smith has agreed to a four-year deal with the Roosters.

"I wish him well," Tew told The Sun-Herald last night.

"They have offered him a significantly longer tenure and it's what he wants to do.

"I gave up a long time ago trying to get people to do something they didn't want to do.

"We will endeavour to finish the rest of the season as best we can in a professional manner.

"We've still got some mountains to climb this year. I'm disappointed he's going but I appreciate he's doing what he wants to do."

Source: The Sun-Herald Advertisement Featured advertisers

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