Veteran Australian coaching guru Brian Smith is the new head coach of Super League strugglers Wakefield following a bombshell announcement.
The older brother of Warrington boss Tony Smith was announced as the successor to fellow Australian James Webster shortly before Wakefield’s Super League match against Castleford on the final day of the Magic Weekend in Newcastle.
Wakefield chairman Michael Carter said: “There were some outstanding candidates, however, as soon as I talked to Brian I felt that he was the man for the job.
“He was coach of the Year in 2010 and has taken numerous teams to NRL Grand Finals.
“His pedigree is unquestioned and I look forward to him taking this club forward and turning our fortunes around.”
Wakefield say that, subject to working visa approval, Smith will fly to the UK towards the end of this week and interim head coach Stuart Dickens will remain in charge of the team for next Sunday’s game home against Leeds.
Smith, who at 61 will be the oldest coach in Super League, takes over a Wakefield side rooted to the foot of the table with seven games left before the split into three divisions.
Widely recognised as one of the most influential coaches of the modern generation, Smith began his coaching career at Illawarra in 1984 and during a three-year stint with Hull he took them to the 1991 Premiership final.
He was in charge of Bradford at the start of Super League in 1996, guiding them to the Challenge Cup final, and also coached St George, Parramatta, Newcastle and, up to the end of 2012, Sydney Roosters.
Smith had a brief role of assistant to England coach Steve McNamara for the 2010 Four Nations Series in Australia and has also coached the United States.
McNamara is among a host of modern coaches who credit Smith with playing a major role in their development.
Smith will go up against his younger brother Tony when the Wildcats meet Warrington at Belle Vue on July 12.