Experience as Paul Smith joins Roughyeds

Date published: Thursday, October 6, 2011

OLDHAM RL have brought in their second experienced forward with the capture of Halifax back-row man Paul Smith.

Aged 34, the former Huddersfield Giants star follows 30-year-old prop Danny Heaton into Whitebank and, like Heaton, he has signed a contract that will cover the 2012 season and run to November 30 next year.

“Paul will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge at a time when we have a lot of young players coming through,” said Roughyeds chairman Chris Hamilton.

“At 34, he is still very fit with great enthusiasm. He’s got a football brain and good ball skills, but in addition to what he will offer the team in his own right he will also be of great value to the young players.

“He can play equally well at loose-forward or in the second-row and he has also turned out at stand-off. He could be a real big signing.”

He first made a name for himself as an exciting young forward with Swinton and Rochdale before he went full time with Huddersfield, making 69 Super League appearances for the Giants in seasons 2004 to 2006 inclusive.

He was a substitute for Huddersfield in the 2006 Challenge Cup final against St Helens, which Saints won 42-12 at Twickenham.

He later transferred to Halifax and then returned to Swinton where, in 2010, he had a player-coach role.

“That didn’t work out for me,” said Smith. “It was difficult to combine coaching and playing, and it made me realise that I would prefer to play as long as I possibly could and perhaps take up coaching at a future date.

“I left Swinton before the end of the season and had a brief spell at Leigh before rejoining Halifax where I enjoyed my rugby last season.”

Smith, one of 11 senior players released by Halifax’s new boss Karl Harrison, said he was looking forward to the challenge of helping Oldham to get out of Championship One and up into the Championship.

He added: “I’ve heard a lot of good things about the set-up at Oldham and I would love to help them to win promotion. They’ve gone very close a few times in recent years. Let’s hope we can take that one extra step in 2012.

“I’m told there are a lot of very promising young players on the way up. I will do anything I can to help them, but my priority has to be my own level of performance. I need to get that right before I think of anything else.”

Though born in Hull, Smith studied for a maths degree at Salford University and has lived in this area ever since. He currently resides in Bolton and works as a teacher of maths and PE at a school in Salford.

+Roughyeds chairman Chris Hamilton will be a studio guest on Radio Manchester’s Rugby League Show between 7pm and 9pm tonight.

+The Roughyeds’ first-team presentation dinner at Whitebank tomorrow is a sell-out.