Leeds Rhinos legend Lee Smith calls time on his career

EX-LEEDS RHINOS, Wakefield Trinity and England star Lee Smith has retired from professional rugby league at the age of just 32 - but intends to stay in the sport as an agent.

Lee Smith scores in the 2009 Grand Final v St Helens (SWPix)
Lee Smith scores in the 2009 Grand Final v St Helens (SWPix)

The winger/full-back won three Super League titles in successive years with his hometown Leeds from 2007 to 2009 - scoring in each - and represented his country at the 2008 World Cup.

After a brief spell in rugby union with Wasps, Smith returned to Rhinos before enjoying a successful stint at Wakefield.

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He later joined Leigh Centurions and spent the last two years at Bradford Bulls where he was club captain but left at the end of last season.

Lee Smith goes over to cross for Leeds in the 2007 Grand Final as Clinton Toopi and Gareth Ellis begin celebrations (SWPix)

Smith - who won the Harry Sunderland Trophy as Grand Final man-of-the-match in 2008 - posted a statement on Twitter saying: “I couldn’t have enjoyed my time in rugby any better; from the age of eight to 32 I’ve loved every minute and achieved far more than I ever could have imagined.

“To have represented my country at the highest level and have the success I’ve had with my hometown club is something I’m immensely proud of.

“I have brilliant memories from my time at every club I represented and the amount of friends I have from sport is amazing.”

Smith, who helped Leeds beat Melbourne Storm in the 2008 World Club Challenge and also returned to union with Newcastle Falcons in 2014-15, added: “I’ve been fortunate to make over 250 appearances and to walk away with not having a major operation is something freakish in today’s sporting world.

He's at it again as Lee Smith scores once more against St Helens in the 2008 Old Trafford showpiece (SWPix)

“This certainly has played a part in my decision. I’m healthy and very much looking forward to the next chapter of my career which I hope will still be involved in the game as a sports agent.

“I’d like to thank firstly all my team-mates I’ve ever played with for making my time in rugby so special, my coaches for giving me the chance to play and everyone who’s contributed to my career along the way.

“Lastly I want to thank my family, especially my mum for running me as a kid to all my training session, and my grandma and grandad for never missing any games.

“To Victoria and the kids for making me smile everyday and I look forward to spending lots more weekends together now.”