PACK LEADER Nick Scruton says new boss Brian Smith’s influence is already being felt at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
Scruton was in Leeds Rhinos’ squad when Smith’s younger brother, Tony, took over as coach at Headingley 11 years ago.
Tony had a huge impact on Leeds and later his current club Warrington Wolves and Scruton reckons Brian can turn Wildcats’ fortunes around.
Scruton said: “First impressions are, it’s like going back in time a bit, to when Tony Smith came in at Leeds.
“They are the double of each other, the way they carry themselves and their enthusiasm. He is similar to Tony in every way and if he is just as successful, we will be all right.
“He is the most enthusiastic 61-year-old I have ever met.
“He is passionate about rugby league and that’s starting to rub off, so it has been a good few days.”
Smith, who began work on Monday, is one of rugby league’s most experienced coaches and Scruton feels that is just what Wildcats need at this stage.
“At the start of the season, after winning the first two games – and even before that – I was thinking this is the best squad Wakefield have had for a long time,” he recalled.
“A lot of the lads who’ve been here for a while were saying the same thing. The squad is full of talent and I think it maybe needs an experienced coach now to get the best out of people.
“Hopefully Brian Smith coming in can do that. He has come across really well and everyone’s excited to play for him.”
Wildcats’ first match under Smith is on Sunday, at home to second-bottom Salford Red Devils.
According to Scruton, a win this weekend would lay a platform for a strong finish to the campaign.
“Towards the end of the season we’ve got a lot of games coming up that are winnable,” he said.
“We’ve played Wigan, Saints and Leeds all home and away and it is not like we are short of confidence.
“We have prepared well for every game, but it has just not happened for us. We go into every game confident and thinking we can win.
“They (Salford) haven’t been going well either so hopefully we can get our first win for a while and get a bit of momentum going.”
Scruton insisted he is “100 per cent” confident Wildcats will still be in First Utility Super League next year.
“That’s what Brian’s come here for and I’m sure if he wasn’t confident, he wouldn’t have come,” he said.
“There’s that much talent in the squad, it would be a shame for us to go down. It only takes one or two wins and it becomes a habit.
“We are all looking forward to the middle-eights and seeing what we can do there.
“In patches we look the real deal. I think we are a better team than last year, when we went on that run and only lost one out of seven.
“It is just a case of going out and showing it.”