'Every defeat hurts, but we need to toughen up' - Tony Smith not giving up on Hull FC project

A DEFIANT Tony Smith insists he is at Hull FC for the long haul despite a chastening derby defeat to Hull Kingston Rovers on Good Friday.

The veteran Australian has been unable to turn Hull’s fortunes around in the same manner that he did across the city at his previous club Rovers, who emphatically cemented their status as the dominant team in East Yorkshire with a 34-10 win at Craven Park.

Rovers fans taunted Smith with chants of ‘sacked in the morning’ but the 57-year-old was in no mood to talk about throwing the towel in, just as his players admirably refused to do after conceding 28 unanswered points in a demoralising first half.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Challenging his players to ‘toughen up’ Smith said: “I’m here to help this club turn around. I love projects. I don’t enjoy all the hard parts of it and days like today, like the last couple of weeks.

Hull FC's Danny Houghton dejected as his side slips behind further to Hull KR. (Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)Hull FC's Danny Houghton dejected as his side slips behind further to Hull KR. (Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)
Hull FC's Danny Houghton dejected as his side slips behind further to Hull KR. (Picture: Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)

“So many people out there don’t get a chance to learn how to be resilient and fight through when it’s tough, it’s not taught in schools and it’s not taught in homes.

“I like teaching people how to handle things and I’ve got to set the example. It’s tough at the moment, but I’ve been through tough times in every job I’ve been in.

“Keep working hard, you get through it and you come out stronger. That’s the answer and there are no short cuts.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We’ve just got to keep working hard, working on gaining our confidence by having some wins in our performance.

“We’re not in great form and the world’s telling us how bad we are, it’s hard for young men and people.

“We’ve got to toughen up, we’ve got to accept the criticism we’re copping and go right, time to stop that and turn it around ourselves, because no one is going to do it for us, we’ve got to dig in and work our way out. Some people fold and cave in, but if you’re going to last in rugby league you’ve got to have that resilience and be tough enough to handle all that and work hard enough to push through it and come out the other side. The next thing you know everybody is telling you how good you are, but we’ve got a bit to do before we get to that stage.”

Smith said the defeat hurt no more than any other, despite it being a local derby against one of his former clubs.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But he did admit he needs to see more ‘desperation’ from his side if they are to improve on a start to the season that has seen them win just one of their first seven games.

“To come in at half-time at that sort of scoreline was pretty demoralising,” admitted Smith, whose Black and Whites conceded six tries in a 28-0 rout.

"You could easily throw in the towel and not go out there or try to fix things up, so on that account that’s encouraging.

“The 28 points before that, to get to the point where we really get desperate, we’ve got to address that. We’ve got to get desperate with our defence earlier in matches. In defence you’ve got to be desperate not to concede, you’ve got to be urgent, desperate.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We’re not in great form so we’ve got to make sure we’re working hard for one another and get desperate to help one another.

“The players care, we all care. It’s just how determined you are to prevent that happening in the first place?

“This hurts, but every defeat hurts. That may not be what some people want to hear but every defeat hurts.

"I want my players to hurt.”