The Aquis Gold Coast Titans have released assistant coach Rohan Smith from his duties to take up the post of head coach at Bradford Bulls in England.
It is the club his father Brian took into the inaugural summer Super League season in 1996, also reaching the Challenge Cup final for the first time in half a century, before returning to begin Parramatta’s successful era from 1997.
Rohan celebrated his 35th birthday yesterday and late last night finalised his deal at the Bulls which will go through to the end of the 2019 season.
The position became vacant after the resignation of former British international hooker James Lowes. The Bulls are third on the ladder in the championship league, the competition below Super League, with the chance for promotion at season’s end.
“I see the appointment as a real privilege and something I have been working towards for a while after doing a long apprenticeship,” Rohan Smith said this morning.
“I have fond memories of Bradford Bulls and the crowd at Odsal when my father was coaching there and being part of the rebuilding phase of what has been a great traditional club.
“I really appreciate the Titans allowing me to take up the position and I leave with nothing but fond memories from my time here with such a great group of players, staff and people.
“I’m thankful for Neil Henry giving me the opportunity here at a development club; I’ve learned lot from him and look forward to now coaching my own team and developing further in my career.
I’d like to pay tribute to the work done by James Lowes and his staff in having the Bulls in the tip four and I look forward to building on what they have achieved so far.”
Smith will become the third family member to coach in Britain this season with his uncle Tony at the helm of Super League ladder leaders Warrington while Brian, who ironically kept Wakefield Wildcats in Super League at the expense of Bradford last October, resigned from the club in March.
Former Warriors coach Daniel Anderson gave Rohan his start in the coaching field as an analyst and development coach in 2003-04 before he left for England for a stint with London Broncos from 2004-06. He returned to join Newcastle Knights under his father’s tutelage from 2007-09. He moved to Sydney Roosters (2010-123), before becoming the Panthers under-20s assistant coach, then took on the Warriors NSW Cup coaching role in 2014 before joining the Titans where he has been in charge of defence.
“While this has come along quite suddenly during our season it’s a great opportunity for Rohan to coach his own team and he goes with our best wishes,” Titans coach Neil Henry said.
“While it’s not Super League, to be in that competition is Rohan’s and Bradford’s goal and this is a great opportunity for him. He has been a great contributor to our club over the past 18 months and has a bright future in the game.
“The connection to Bradford is not lost with his father Brian turning around their fortunes two decade ago, and hopefully Rohan can do the same.”