Smith for Oldham

Date published: Tuesday, June 19, 2012

OLDHAM RL Club’s close ties with Super League’s Leeds Rhinos have provided Roughyeds with another quality youngster.

Said to be one of the most gifted prospects at Headingley, 19-year-old prop Daniel Smith has joined Oldham on dual registration to pair up at Whitebank with his fellow Leeds youngster Colton Roche.

Smith, whose initial agreement runs to the end of July, has taken an established route from Headingley to Whitebank.

Roche used it a fortnight ago; Matty Syron was here for a few weeks earlier in the season; and Callum Casey and Danny Bravo played much of last year at Whitebank while on loan from the Yorkshire giants.

Oldhamer Barrie McDermott, head of youth development at Rhinos and one of this town’s most famous rugby league sons, is the man behind the Rhinos-Roughyeds link.

“It’s down to Barrie Mac. He is responsible for the development of the young kids at Leeds,” explained Oldham boss Tony Benson.

“He is very impressed with Smith and particularly with his hand-eye co-ordination. In some aspects he reminds Barrie of the Sculthorpes.

“He thinks Smith has a big future ahead of him and he believes the time he will spend at Oldham will form an important part of his development.

“Barrie is happy with the progress his young players make while at Oldham and he has again shown that he is comfortable with the arrangement by giving us the thumbs-up to sign Roche a couple of weeks ago and now Smith.”

Full time, and a member of the first-team squad at Leeds, Smith stands 6ft 3in and weighs 17st 8 lbs.

Pontefract-born, he learned his early rugby with Castleford amateurs Lock Lane before joining the Leeds academy as a 15-year-old.

He represented Wakefield service area between 2005 and 2008 and won both the Yorkshire Cup and the National Cup with that organisation during that time.

A nephew of former Wakefield and Wigan star Tony Smith, Daniel starred for England Academy against France in 2011.

He will be strongly considered for his Oldham debut against Rochdale Hornets at Whitebank on Sunday (3pm), although Benson at this stage will go no further than confirming that he “is in the mix with everybody else”.

Roughyeds chairman Chris Hamilton said: “Colton Roche showed in his first game for us against North Wales at Wrexham that he has a lot to offer, and we expect nothing less from the highly-rated Daniel Smith because all the Leeds boys come to us with great attitudes and first-class credentials.”

Oldham now have their maximum four temporary signings from other clubs, having acquired Roche and Smith on dual registration and winger Chris Holroyde and back-row man Lewis Reed on loan from Halifax and Keighley respectively.

They have not given up, however, on prop David Tootill, whose loan spell ended last week. They have discussed his future with his club, Hunslet, but are still waiting for Hawks to respond.

Roughyeds reserves, winners against Halifax and York in their last two games, go to Keighley on Thursday night (7.45pm kick off), while the under-18s also play Keighley away on Saturday (2.30pm).