On this Day – 24th January

On the 24th January in years gone by former Loiner Derek Hallas made his debut against Leigh and in 1967 Leeds coach Tony Smith was born.

ON THIS DAY in 1959 former Loiner Derek Hallas made his debut against Leigh. Hallas had actually begun his senior career in rugby union with Roundhay, but soon the Hunslet born player switched codes to join Keighley and in 1958 Leeds brought him in to replace Keith McLellan. In this debut performance he couldn’t have hoped for a better start by scoring a try to help his new side to a 16-11 win.

Along with his right flank partner Wilf Rosenberg he was instrumental in helping Leeds to the Championship with the pair scoring a third of the Loiners tries that season. In the final against Warrington he earned his status as a Leeds hero by scoring two tries in the 25-10 win to help the Loiners to their first ever championship success.

Derek made 135 appearances for Leeds and scored 60 tries before moving back to Keighley in 1962 and then going onto spend five years in Australia with Parramatta. He came back to Leeds after a year as coach with Halifax and became the club’s scout and then secretary of the ex-players’ association. 

 

ON THIS DAY in 1967 Leeds coach Tony Smith was born in Lismore, Australia. Tony Smith became Leeds Rhinos Head Coach on 1st November 2003 following the appointment of Daryl Powell to Director of Rugby.

In 2004 he took the Rhinos to their first Championship in 32 years after the side finished league leaders and then defeated Bradford in the Grand Final. In 2005 after signing a new contact to keep him at the club till 2006 he saw his Rhinos side crowned World Club Champions, having beaten Canterbury Bulldogs 39-32 at Elland Road.

Tony joined the Rhinos from Huddersfield Giants where he had helped the Giants reach their highest league finishing position in over 40 years. A former player with Illawarra, whom he made 37 appearances for and scored 9 tries and St George whom he played 28 games for, Tony finished his playing career in 1996 with a spell at Workington in Super League.

He began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Adelaide Rams before moving onto Parramatta Eels. In 2001 he moved to England to coach Giants and whilst they were relegated in his first season, they bounced back with Grand Final success. Tony played in two Grand Finals whilst at St George losing out to Brisbane in 1992 and 1993.

In 2001 he moved to England to coach Giants and whilst they were relegated in his first season, they bounced back with Grand Final success. Tony played in two Grand Finals whilst at St George losing out to Brisbane in 1992 and 1993.