Smith legacy continues at Bradford

The last time Bradford fought for English Super League promotion, Rohan Smith barracked for their rivals Wakefield.

No wonder Smith was surprised to be named Bradford head coach barely six months later.

Former Gold Coast Titans assistant Smith will follow his famous father Brian’s footsteps when he takes up the Bradford reins this year after signing a deal until the end of 2019.

Smith was just a teenager when Brian Smith was Bradford coach at the advent of Super League 20 years ago.

But a more recent England coaching stint by his dad sprung to mind after Smith – now 35 – was confirmed as Bradford coach on Friday.

Last October a Wakefield team coached by his father Brian downed Bradford 24-16 to earn Super League promotion.

Smith could not help but laugh when reminded of his allegiances.

“I actually thought back to that game (after being named Bradford coach),” Smith said.

“I was cheering for Wakefield with my dad as coach.

“It’s funny how life and sport can go in circles.

“It’s happened pretty suddenly but I have to take this opportunity.”

The ex-Gold Coast defensive coach will become the latest Smith family member to take up the coaching reins in the UK.

Besides his father and former long-time NRL mentor Brian, Smith’s uncle Tony Smith is the Warrington coach in the English Super League.

“I am very proud of the legacy created by them and I hope to continue that,” Smith said.

“I remember Bradford in the first year of Super League – it is a great club with a massive following.

“I can’t wait to get them back to where they belong.”

Smith’s priority will be to earn Championship League team Bradford Super League promotion.

Bradford are currently third on the second tier Championship League ladder.

The top four teams at season’s end vie for one Super League promotion spot.

Smith – who replaces James Lowes who resigned – hopes to leave for the UK in a fortnight.

“I don’t feel any pressure because of my name,” Smith said.

“It is probably a good thing if anything that I have had that exposure.

“Since I was born I have been watching footy.”

Smith enjoyed assistant stints at the Warriors, English club London Broncos, Newcastle Knights under his father, Sydney Roosters and Penrith before linking with the Titans.

“I decided at 16 I wanted to be a head coach – it’s been a 19-year journey,” he said.

Smith said he would still pick his dad’s brain.

“He is a great sounding board. He’s been through the highs and lows of rugby league,” Smith said.

Titans coach Neil Henry was unsure when he would fill the vacancy created by Smith’s departure.

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