Castleford Tigers' Daniel Smith admits: 'I'm enjoying my rugby again because of Cas'

CASTLEFORD Tigers prop Daniel Smith says he has “rediscovered” his love of the sport since joining his hometown club.

Castleford Tigers' Daniel Smith (ALLAN MCKENZIE/SWPIX)

Smith, 28, signed a new deal last week after continuing his impressive form with Daryl Powell’s side.

He conceded he had started to not enjoy his football at Huddersfield Giants following a string of injuries but has flourished since being given more freedom to express himself at Wheldon Road.

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The ball-handling forward, who started out at Leeds Rhinos and had a spell in South Sydney’s Under 20s before moving to Wakefield Trinity, joined in April 2019.

“I always knew I was a good player but I just hadn’t had the opportunity,” said Smith, who signed a two-year extension until the end of 2023 and faces Warrington Wolves this afternoon.

“I enjoy playing here whereas before I didn’t really enjoy playing rugby if I’m honest.

“I had a few bad injuries and it just took its toll on me.

“But I’ve rediscovered my love for the game and am really enjoying it.

“Powelly likes middles who can ball play and I like to do that in my game.

“The game is getting like that – middles have to strike a balance about knowing when to run and when to pass – so he’s helped me massively with that.

“He’s obviously given me an opportunity in the first place, which I can’t be thankful enough for.

“He’s really helped my game in the one percenters.”

Smith, who only played 50 games in just over four years at Giants, says he never wanted to move anywhere else.

“I had an option in my last contract, which was in Castleford’s favour, so I couldn’t really talk to any other clubs,” he explained.

“Cas took up the option and gave me another year, which was a bonus for me because I always wanted to stay here.

“It’s good to have that security because in previous years I obviously left Huddersfield and was trying to prove myself and get back to playing how I wanted to play.

“I was just signing one-year deals, which isn’t good when you have a young family.

“Now I have two years, I can concentrate on playing rugby and putting my best forward.”

Castleford look to respond today after Monday’s 26-22 home loss against Hull KR, only their second defeat of the year.

“We know ourselves that Monday wasn’t good enough and it’s been coming for a while to be honest,”admitted Smith.

“Performances haven’t been where they need to be but hopefully this week we can put that right.

“Warrington are obviously coming off a defeat as well, so it’s two teams looking to put things right.

“Without looking too far ahead, we’ve got a Challenge Cup semi-final (against Wolves) as well, so we need to gain some momentum for that and really hit the ground running.”

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