NEW Wakefield Trinity Wildcats head coach James Webster is confident he can get the best out of Tim Smith in the gifted scrum-half’s second stint at Belle Vue.
The Australian, 29, goes straight into their starting line-up for tonight’s crucial home game against bottom-placed London Broncos having signed on loan from Salford Red Devils for the remainder of the season.
It was only 10 months ago that Smith – so integral to Wakefield in 2012 and 2013 – was sold to their Super League rivals to help raise funds to keep the club afloat.
However, he has struggled to recreate the same dynamism at Salford alongside England stand-off Rangi Chase, playing just a dozen games before being told he can leave for the rest of the year by coach Iestyn Harris.
It has been a difficult time for the Queenslander who revealed in 2008 that he suffers from bipolar disorder.
However, Webster is adamant Wakefield – who knows victory in his first game in charge tonight will put them eight points clear of Bradford Bulls in the relegation spots – will bring the best out of him once more.
“Timmy’s in a good frame of mind,” he said. “I’ve known him since he was a kid that turned up at Parramatta about 16 years ago.
“He’s always on top of the world when happy and playing rugby’s a big part of his life.
“He probably needs for things to be going well for everything to slot in but we understand what makes Tim tick and what makes him play well.
“He was the catalyst for our good run (to the play-offs) two years ago and he’s been brilliant this week.
“Timmy’s only had two training sessions but he knows the boys and how we like to play while they have noticed straightaway what impact he has.
“He likes being the main man, in control, calling the plays.
“We’ve been missing that a little bit and he’s jumped in and relished the chance to do it again.
“He’s been up for the challenge and it really reminds me of when he came over the first time. I sense that in him again.”
Webster revealed Smith could have gone elsewhere rather than aiding Trinity’s fight near the bottom and said: “He had plenty of sniffs from other clubs and that speaks volumes about how he feels about this.
“He’s backed himself to be our No 1 and he’s just got a good rhythm about him that allows players to play better.
“We’ve looked stop-start this year and he can change that.”
Webster has allowed half-back Harry Siejka to move to Featherstone Rovers on a month’s loan.