Hull KR appoint Willie Peters as next head coach with Australian excited to join club 'on the rise'

Hull KR have unveiled former Wigan Warriors half-back Willie Peters as Tony Smith's successor on a three-year deal from the end of 2022.

The 43-year-old has served his apprenticeship in the NRL as an assistant coach with Manly Sea Eagles, South Sydney Rabbitohs and current club Newcastle Knights, working under Trent Barrett, Anthony Seibold, Wayne Bennett and Adam O’Brien.

As well as playing for Wigan in 2000, Peters enjoyed spells in Super League with Gateshead Thunder and Widnes Vikings.

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The Australian will take over from Smith at the end of this season after the current Rovers boss opted against renewing his contract.

Willie Peters, right, chats with Wayne Bennett during their time together at South Sydney. (Picture: Getty Images)

In his first head coach role in either Super League or the NRL, Peters will look to take the Robins to the next level after two near misses in recent semi-finals.

“I always had an ambition to go back and coach in the Super League," said Peters, who will finish the season with Newcastle before making the move to Craven Park.

"When the opportunity came up, it just felt right. I’ve got so many good memories of when I played in Super League. I’m just grateful for the opportunity and I can’t wait to come back over there.

“I’m joining a team that’s well established and definitely on the rise. I’ve worked with a number of quality coaches and taken a lot away from what their strengths are. But of course, I’m going to do it my way.

Willie Peters, centre, in action during the 2000 Grand Final. (Picture: Getty Images)

“We don’t need to change too much in the way we’ll play our footy. Naturally, I’ll have my spin on things and some principles that I think are important.

“I’ve just got to build on the foundations that Neil (Hudgell), Paul (Lakin), Tony and the staff have set on the back of their hard work. So for me, it’s just about building on the great work people have done so far."

The Robins have moved swiftly to find a successor to Smith with the transfer window now open.

Hull KR chief executive Lakin has expressed his delight after landing his man.

Willie Peters is tackled by Chris Joynt. (Picture: SWPix.com)

“From the first time we spoke to Willie it was clear that he understood the progress we have made under Tony, our philosophy on recruitment, the quality of our squad, the passion of our fanbase and how he could build and develop our team further over the next three years," said Lakin.

"Willie knows Super League well, he’s a fan of the competition, and he has six years' NRL assistant coaching experience across three clubs with high-quality cultures, who have consistently reached the play-offs.

"He initially worked as a development coach and is clearly passionate about promoting youth at every opportunity, again a key discipline that we believe in as a club.

"Both former coaches and players who have worked with Willie spoke in such high regard of his coaching abilities.

"With Willie’s significant coaching experience, his initial development coaching background and his clear understanding of the Super League game, we believe he is the ideal fit for Hull KR, to progress from the firm foundation stones set in place.

"It is vitally important that we make this announcement now to enable retention and recruitment discussions to happen immediately whilst we remain fully focused on the 2022 season.”