WARRINGTON Wolves boss Tony Smith has moved quick to distance himself from reports of a move back to Australia by agreeing a contract extension at the Halliwell Jones Stadium until November 2016 – with former Wakefield coach Richard Agar joining as first team coach.
While Smith has agreed a new deal there will be changes to the backroom staff from next season with Richard Marshall and Willie Poching moving on, with Agar taking on the role of first team coach on a two-year deal.
Smith (pictured right) will remain at the helm for a further two seasons having joined the Warrington club back in 2009. Since then he has led the team to three Challenge Cup successes, a League Leaders Shield and two Grand Final appearances.
He says current first team coaches Willie Poching and Richard Marshall have both played a massive part in the development of the players over many years and have grown as coaches. They have both expressed a desire and have ambitions to progress their coaching careers further and the time has come for them to take these first steps towards becoming head coaches while Warrington also look for fresh ideas within their coaching department.
Agar (pictured below) will take over the role of first team coach alongside Smith having resigned from his position at the Wildcats earlier this month.
A former player, with spells at Dewsbury, Featherstone and Widnes, Agar has now accumulated 10 years experience coaching within Super League, following assistant and head coach roles at Hull FC and his recent top position at Wakefield. He is also the current coach of the French international team.
Commenting on his new deal as Head of coaching and rugby Smith said: “Once again I am delighted to have extended my stay with this great club. It enables us to continue to build and develop and I am excited about the transition of our team going into the future. We have some very exciting prospects both within our ranks at present and the junior products that we have coming through. Although it’s been quite flattering to be linked with the NRL I have never been tempted to leave the position I currently hold with this fantastic club.”
On the changes to the backroom staff he added: “I’d personally like to thank both Willie and Richard for what they have given to the club over the years and for the support they have given to me on both a personal and professional level. I look forward to watching them progress in their coaching careers in the future. They’re fully committed to the club for the remainder of the season and will be doing everything within their power to help the Wolves have another successful season.
“Richard (Agar) and I have had a great respect for one another for a number of years; having first met Richard when I was assistant coach at Parramatta. I’ve been a big admirer of his coaching at each of the teams he has been at – often under testing circumstances – and I recognise and appreciate the type of rugby he encourages which fits our Warrington style of play. When Richard became available we were in the market for a first team coach for the 2015 season and he became an ideal candidate.”
Agar added: “While it was a difficult decision to leave Wakefield, naturally I am thrilled to get an opportunity to work at Warrington Wolves. Working at one of the best clubs in the game, and under Tony Smith, I feel I can only enhance my development as a coach. I am thoroughly looking forward to contributing to what is already a successful team and organisation.”
Top picture shows Smith and Agar chatting at Wakefield last season.