14th June 2019, 12:16 | Hullkr
Smith spent nine seasons at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, guiding the Wolves to three Coral Challenge Cup triumphs and three Grand Final appearances, before taking a break from the game.
The former England coach is now in charge of the relegation-threatened Robins after succeeding Tim Sheens and has been given a ringing endorsement from utility back Will Dagger, who played under Smith at Warrington.
“We’ve had that better energy,” Dagger told BBC Radio Humberside. “It seems a completely different environment now.
“Tim was a bit too relaxed a times. When you’re losing game after game, it’s not a nice place to be sometimes and Tim wasn’t strict enough.
“If I’ve messed up, I put my hand up and I want someone to tell me, to come up to me and say go away and work on it.
“When I was at Warrington if I messed up, TS pulled me up straight away.
“Now he’s here, he’s already set his standards and the boys are on their toes and they’re really switched on.”
Having held largely a watching brief ahead of the Robins’ last-gasp home defeat by Wigan last Sunday, Smith has thrown himself into their relegation battle this week.
“I’ve been made to feel really welcome by everybody, players and staff,” Smith said.
“It was really disappointing for the players in particular not to get the points last week but I thought the effort was fantastic. We’ll get our rewards as we keep working hard.”
Hull KR have already lost three times to Warrington so far this season but Smith has received a timely boost with the return of full-back Adam Quinlan from a nine-month injury lay-off.
The 26-year-old Australian ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in a Super 8s clash with Halifax last September but is set to make his comeback against the Wolves.
“He’s a terrific player,” Smith said. “I love watching him play. He’s looking forward to returning and adding some strength and experience to our team.
“He’ll add speed and know-how as well as giving other people some confidence. I’d put him at 85-90 per cent chance of playing, we’ll make the final call on Friday but all things are looking good for Adam.
“He’s had enough of rehabilitation and enough time out of training. He’s psychologically ready to go too.”
Hull KR are level on points with bottom club London Broncos, who take on high-flying Catalans Dragons in Perpignan on Saturday.
Broncos coach Danny Ward has been determined to keep his players grounded following their shock win over leaders St Helens last Sunday.
“We can’t get too excited as it’s a strong side we face this week,” Ward said. “It’s only one win and we have to keep our feet on the ground.
“The fans will be buzzing but we need to keep our focus on the task ahead now.”