Castleford Tigers prop Daniel Smith convinced Super League wins coming soon for Lee Radford's new-look team
The forward, who began his career in Leeds Rhinos’ academy and made his top-flight debut for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats eight years ago, has started both Tigers’ games so far.
Twenty three of his 44 Super League appearances for Tigers before this year were as a substitute, but Smith is keen to keep his place in new coach Lee Radford’s first-choice 13.
He feels he is benefiting from work done since training began last November and reckons results will change for the team, sooner rather than later, if they stick to their guns.
“I have had a big pre-season,” Smith said.
“It [starting] is always something I have wanted to do, but I have played off the bench quite a bit at Cas.
“I don’t mind either role really, but it is always good to start and I think I have started pretty well in these past two games; I have tried getting the team on the front foot.”
Smith, whose brother Cameron plays for Leeds, believes, at 28, he is now coming towards his peak as a Super League prop.
“I feel like my body has adapted a bit, to be a bit bigger and stronger,” he added.
“I do feel I am coming into my better years.
“Hopefully I can build on every performance and I can show people what I think I can get to.”
Results have taken some of the shine of Smith’s new status in the starting lineup.
Tigers will travel to Hull KR on Friday on the back of successive defeats by Salford Red Devils and Warrington Wolves, but Smith is confident they are not far away from a first victory under Radford.
“Obviously we haven’t started the season the way we’d have liked to, but I think we’ve started games all right,” he said.
“We’ve just had too many errors and too many defensive errors that have led to us conceding points.
“We are looking to put that right in training and I am sure it will swing sooner rather than later.
“We have been in good positions in games, which we should have capitalised on to score points.
“We didn’t and that is something we are looking forward to putting right this week.
“The season is not won in the first two games; we are putting everything into training and trying to get the wrongs right.
“Results don’t reflect how we have trained and I am sure things will turn.”
It may be only round three, but Smith accepts Friday evening’s fixture is a “massive game” for both clubs.
He pointed out: “Hull KR are none from two as well, so I am sure both teams will be trying their hardest to get the win.
“It is a hard place to go, Hull KR and it will be a tough game, but I am sure if we get things right we should be coming away with a win.
“We just need to get the monkey off our back and build some momentum now.”
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