Widnes Vikings v Huddersfield Giants: Smith hoping other players avoid similar suspension issue

WHEN struggling Huddersfield Giants take on Widnes Vikings tonight there will be one player who, rather unexpectedly, has to sit it all out.

Daniel Smith

Admittedly, forward Daniel Smith did not actually even understand why he was given a one-match penalty notice for a tackle in Sunday’s 22-4 loss at Wakefield Trinity.

There were plenty of other people thinking the same following the seemingly innocuous challenge on Tinirau Arona. Smith was, understandably, irritated further when his suspension was then doubled on appeal and he was also handed a £500 fine.

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Now, though, the former Leeds Rhinos prop is keen to make sure fellow players don’t fall into the same trap.

“When I made that tackle I just didn’t think I was in the wrong but the rules now say that I am,” Smith told The Yorkshire Post.

“The panel said I lost control of the tackle going on the back of the player’s leg and putting him in a dangerous position.

“I didn’t think I was guilty – we didn’t think there was anything in it – and that’s why we challenged but obviously they went against me and gave me another game ban.

“Players need to be more aware of what is and what isn’t a bad tackle as everyone who I have spoken to who has seen the footage has asked me how that is an illegal challenge?

“Everyone who has contacted me has said how they can’t see that I’ve done anything wrong.

“If I’d have known I was putting him in a bad position I’d have pulled out – I’m not a malicious player – but I didn’t think I was. The rules say it is, though, and I just don’t want other players doing it and there being serious injuries.

“So, I’d ask that they are careful with what they do.”

Pontefract-born Smith, who spent a season playing for South Sydney Under 20s before joining Wakefield ahead of the 2014 campaign, is frustrated at being sidelined having cemented his place in Rick Stone’s squad.

He had featured in all four opening games off the bench, building on the positive finish made last year when he came back from a series of injuries.

Smith had already seen 2016 written off due to major and complicated foot surgery.

“I’m wanting to prove a few people wrong,” said the player, who joined from Wakefield in June 2015 on a four-and-a-half year deal.

“Ever since I’ve been back at Huddersfield I’ve had setbacks.

“I’ve had a big pre-season and got myself in the best shape possible but little setbacks keep happening like this.

“I’m just starting to get back to where I want to be now, though, and I want to kick on further.

“This is frustrating but it will only make me a better player.

“I’ve two weeks now to train as hard as I can and hopefully get back in for that Wigan game.”

The defeat at Wakefield was Giants’ third loss in four matches meaning tonight’s game at Widnes – and next Thursday’s televised home Yorkshire derby with Hull KR – are crucial.

Smith, who turns 25 later this month, admitted: “Widnes is a must-win game for us. We need to turn things around and kick-start back up the league.

“It was a poor performance against Wakefield; it was scrappy and the conditions didn’t help but hopefully come Friday we can improve on a better surface to put some stuff together.”

Meanwhile, Smith’s former Huddersfield coach Paul Anderson named a 25-strong England Knights squad this week and the player said: “I want to try and get involved in that.

“I represented England at Under 16s and then – with people like Brad Singleton, Reece Lyne and Matty Russell – for England Under 18s, too, so that’s something I’m aiming for.”

Also, Giants last night revealed centre Sam Wood, 21, has signed a new deal until the end of 2021.