Leeds Rhinos v Castleford Tigers: Smith brothers set for family squabble
Sibling rivalry will add extra spice to Friday’s Betfred Super League derby between Leeds Rhinos and Castleford Tigers.
Tigers’ Daniel Smith, 28, is the elder brother - by six years - of Leeds’ Cameron Smith and admits the trip to Emerald Headingley is one of the games he relishes most when the schedule is published.
“It’s a fixture I always look forward to,” Daniel Smith said.
“My brother plays there and I started my career there, so I like to play against Leeds.”
Having emerged through Rhinos’ academy system, Daniel Smith had spells with South Sydney, Wakefield Trinity and Huddersfield Giants before joining Tigers two years ago.
He has played against Cameron before, including in Tigers’ 18-10 win earlier this season, but admitted he hasn’t kept score.
“You’d have to ask my mum,” he said of who has the upper hand.
“I don’t really take much notice, but I might have to start counting.
“I think my mum likes to support us both, but deep down I think she’s a Cas fan.
“She’s from Cas, but likes watching us both play.”
Cameron Smith made his comeback from a hamstring injury last month and Daniel reckons he is one of Leeds’ dangermen.
“I’ve been watching his last couple of games and I think he’s really hitting some form,” he said.
“He is maturing as a player and I think he fits Leeds’ ball-playing role very well.
“He adds a different style to their game whenever he comes off the bench.”
Tigers will welcome back some influential players for Friday after a makeshift team were beaten 34-16 at home by Huddersfield Giants on Monday.
Smith took a knock to his sternum during that game, but expects to be available for the derby.
With all Tigers’ specialist halves unavailable, he was named at stand-off against Giants, but said: “I didn’t actually play there, I played in the front-row.
“Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t mind playing there, but I definitely didn’t this week.”
Tigers have won only two of their last 10 games and were mauled 60-6 by Rhinos at the Jungle in May.
Smith, though, said: “We got hit by Covid after the Challenge Cup final, but I think we’ll get the majority of players back this week and hopefully we’ll get a stronger squad together.
“I’m not saying we didn’t have a strong squad the other day.
“The young kids who came in, Cain Robb especially, did a good job.
“Cain is really showing what talent he has got, he has a big future in the game.”
Tigers are eighth in Betfred Super League, two places behind Rhinos, but Smith - who was a member of their Wembley side almost three weeks ago - reckons they can still figure in the play-offs.
He insisted: “That’s our big aim, to get into the top-six.
“It’s all on percentages so we need to win games and hopefully a few results will go our way and we can push to get in that six.”