Smith unhappy about Morley approach
14th February 2013
Warrington Wolves coach Tony Smith has criticised Salford City Reds’ new owner Marwan Koukash for making a move for his captain Adrian Morley.
Dr Koukash, the millionaire racehorse owner who pulled the City Reds back from the brink of administration, wanted a big-name signing to provide the struggling club with a boost and publicly revealed his target, much to Smith’s displeasure.
Morley, 35, who played for Leeds Rhinos and Sydney Roosters before joining Warrington six years ago, was born and bred in Salford and still lives in the city.
Although the England international is out of contract at the end of 2013, Smith believes the Salford chairman was out of order in making a move so early in the season.
“It was never a consideration and never would be during a season,” Smith said.
“If any of our players are off contract at the end of the season and we don’t approach them before the new date when people can make inquiries, then fine, I don’t have a problem with that.
“I don’t really appreciate any sort of approaches before that date. I think it can be unnerving and unsettling, not only for the player but for spectators and everybody concerned.
“The official date has come forward to I think the 30th of April so there’s well enough time for all that speculation to happen afterwards but I don’t really appreciate the ones in season and certainly not in week one or two of the competition.
“I think that was a bit excessive. It’s probably a little bit different in horse racing.”
Morley has yet to make a decision on his future and Smith has not ruled out the possibility of offering him a new contract for 2014.
“He’s very proud of being a Salford lad and always speaks highly of it,” Smith added.
“Whether he ends up ever playing for them or not, he’s pretty proud of what he’s doing with us.
“We’ll sit down whenever he’s happy to discuss his future as we have in the past. He and I have a great relationship and we handle things really maturely and honestly and openly with each other.”
Meanwhile, Warrington will be without loose forward Ben Harrison for up to six weeks after he underwent a double hernia operation yesterday.
Harrison made a strong start to the season in round one against Castleford Tigers but sat out last Friday’s game against Wigan Warriors with what the club thought was a groin strain.
“He thought and we thought he had a small strain in his groin but the consultant diagnosed a couple of hernias,” Smith said.
“He’s probably been carrying them for a while but carried on thinking it was nothing much.
“Unfortunately for him he had started well and was in good form. It’s a four to six-week recovery and hopefully we’re looking at four rather than six.”
Harrison will be Warrington’s only injury absentee for Friday’s home game against Catalan Dragons, who have drafted in prop Mickael Simon in place of the suspended Julian Bousquet.
The Catalans will also be without co-captain Gregory Mounis, who picked up a finger injury in his side’s win over Salford last Saturday.