By Brian Lowe, Date:22/8/13
The USA Tomahawks rugby league team have staked their claim for a slice of the American sporting market, scoring a major coup in the appointment of decorated head coach Brian Smith.
Smith will be the Tomahawks head coach for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup beginning in October.
Smith has enjoyed a 20-year career in top flight coaching and has taken four first grade teams to Grand Finals. He replaces another coaching veteran in Matt Elliott who has been a tremendous mentor for the group.
Long-time USA coach Elliott has had to step down from his role due to his professional commitments to NRL club the New Zealand Warriors.
The Tomahawks sincerely thank him for his dedication to the team and the rise of rugby league in America.
Smith has coached the glamour clubs of the NRL in the St George Dragons, Parramatta Eels, Newcastle Knights and Sydney Roosters.
Smith, the 2010 Dally M coach of the year, said he had long held ambitions to help develop the sport in America.
â€œThe potential for the game in America is enormous,â€ he said. “American people go nuts over rugby league.
â€œMatt Elliott has been fantastic for the Tomahawks and I just want to dovetail on the back of that.
â€œI have had long running connections to the game in America, beginning with a great friendship with Mike Mayer, who was one of the men who introduced the game to the USA in the 1970â€™s.
â€œI have been to America many times and I always take videos with me and when you actually sit down and explain the strategy they truly embrace and understand it.â€
Smith last coached the Sydney Roosters, taking them to the 2010 NRL Grand Final against the St George-Illawarra Dragons.
The Tomahawks will be venturing to the UK and Wales in October to take part in their first ever Rugby League World Cup.
They are currently ranked 10th in the world.
Elliott said his time with the Tomahawks was a major highlight in his career.
â€œIt was just a great time with great people and Iâ€™m delighted for Brian because he will be able to put in the time to that group that I couldn’t of late,â€ Elliott said.
â€œSmithy is a great appointment. Doing what I could to help the game grow was a great part of my life beginning in 2007.”
The Tomahawks squad will contain a mix of domestic and overseas-based players, including NRL players Joseph Paulo (Parramatta Eels) and Clint Newton (Penrith Panthers)