TEENAGE FORWARD Cameron Smith has a special reason for wanting his run in Leeds Rhinos’ side to continue this week.
Smith has been in Rhinos’ 17 for three of their past four games, as an unused substitute when they lost at Widnes Vikings last month and coming off the bench in the win at St Helens and in the defeat by Castleford Tigers four days ago.
Rhinos visit Huddersfield Giants on Good Friday and Smith, who made his debut away to the same opposition two years ago, is hoping to make some family history. His older brother Dan Smith plays for Giants – after also starting in Leeds’ academy – and Cameron said: “I’ve not played against him yet.
“If I am selected it will be the first time I’ve played against him. We’ve had a bit of a joke in the past saying we are going to come hunting for each other, but I don’t know what’ll happen, we’ll just have to see how it goes.”
The 19-year-old insisted: “I don’t think I’d think about it much.
“Obviously I’d just have to focus on the things I have to do on the field.
“It would be just another game as soon as the whistle goes.”
Smith made two substitute appearances for Rhinos in 2016 and one last year. He also played 11 times – all in the starting line-up – on loan for Bradford Bulls in 2017 and captained England’s academy side.
Rated as one of the best prospects in the country at youth level, he knows he has to make the most of every opportunity to show what he can do in the first team.
“Game time is what I need right now and I am learning as much as I can from it,” he said. “Any minutes on the field are benefiting me.”
Smith came on late in the 25-24 setback against Tigers, but reckons playing in front of a 23,000 crowd at Elland Road was a valuable step forward.
“I am a Cas lad so it was a nice game to play in,” he said. “I didn’t get as many minutes as I wanted, but it will better me and I’ll learn from it.”
Of his two games in the senior side this year, he added: “I’ve done the things I needed to do and got a little bit of praise from people who doubted me before. Everything’s going well at the minute.”
Injuries, particularly in the pack, have handed Smith his opportunity, but he stressed: “The goal now is to maintain my spot and see if I can better this team and hopefully progress on.
“It’s a busy period coming up and hopefully I’ll get as many games as I can under my belt and keep on learning.”
Meanwhile, the Rugby Football League’s match review panel has not issued any disciplinary charges following last Friday’s hot-tempered derby.
Rhinos prop Brad Singleton was yellow-carded for a high tackle on Junior Moors, but the review panel’s verdict was: “Player makes initial contact across the chest area. Player’s arm moves up and makes contact with the head, whilst other defenders bring opponent to ground. Sin-bin sufficient.”