Paul Smith announces retirement

Date published: Thursday, September 13, 2012

PAUL Smith dropped the curtain on his 14-season rugby league playing career with a hat-trick of tries in Oldham’s last-gasp 34-29 play-off defeat at Workington.

He was credited with two, but in announcing that he was now hanging up his boots, aged 35, he also claimed a second half try which was given to Michael Ward.

Said back-row forward Smith: “It was definitely mine. Neil Roden’s crosskick wasn’t taken cleanly by one of their blokes and I touched it down.

“Three tries in my last game. How many people can claim that ?”

He said it was time to sign off as a player, although he wouldn’t rule out a return to the sport if an assistant coach’s job came up.

In one season with Roughyeds he made the left-side second-row spot his own, although he missed a few games because of injury.

Said chairman Chris Hamilton: “Paul came with a reputation, built over many years, as a true, honest pro, a good trainer and no slouch on the pitch.

“He leaves with his reputation intact. He had a couple of injuries, but his committed contribution on and off the pitch was never in question.

“We wish him well wherever his retirement takes him.”

Smith didn’t turn pro until he was 21, but once he signed for Swinton he embarked on a career that took him next to Rochdale Hornets, then to Huddersfield Giants before moving on to Halifax, then back to Swinton as coach, back to Halifax and finally to Oldham.

In his spell at Huddersfield between 2004 and 2006 he made 69 Super League appearances, scoring 13 tries.

He said: “I’ve had a good run and I’ve played at the top level, so I can look back on the last 14 years with satisfaction.

“It was good to have a final fling at Oldham, but it was a frustrating season because we didn’t fulfill our potential and we failed to win promotion.

“On the other hand I found it to be a friendly club, full of good people, and I enjoyed playing for Tony Benson and, at the end, for Martin Roden.

“I won’t be playing regularly again, but if an assistant coach’s job came up which also required me to register as a player I would have to look at it.”