Cameron Smith is hoping to earn a new contract with Leeds after a promising start to the 2020 campaign.
Smith, 21, is one of the few players to be praised after both of Rhinos’ games this season, making a club high 102 tackles and scoring two tries so far.
It is the type of start to the year that the England Knights international was in need of, having struggled to secure a regular spot in the starting 13 over the past few years.
Plus, with his current deal set to expire at the end of the current season, Smith is also playing for his Leeds future with a contract extension yet to be agreed on.
And while Smith says that his contract situation isn’t at the forefront of his mind at the moment, he did reveal that remaining at Headingley beyond this term is the goal.
He said: “I don’t really want to be thinking about getting another deal, I just want to be playing rugby, but I absolutely love playing for Leeds and hopefully my future lies here, so I’ll see if I can get rewarded with a contract.
“I’ve been on the same contract since I was 16-years-old, I signed a five-year deal and I’m in the final year of that now.
“This year was the best pre-season I’ve ever had and I’m just willing to work hard, as hard as everybody else, so if I concentrate on my rugby hopefully the contact will take care of itself.”
The Leeds academy product has completed the full 80 minutes against both Hull FC and KR, starring at loose-forward and stepping in to the hole left by former captain Trent Merrin, who returned to Australia to join St. George Illawarra Dragons last November.
It’s a familiar role for Smith having played there throughout his junior days, and he feels the opportunity to play regularly in his favoured position is the reason behind his good early season form.
“I’ve always been regarded as this utility player as a young kid in the team, I’ve been filling in a couple of spots where we needed to fill, so it’s nice that I’m able to play in the position that I’ve been in since I was young and really make it my own”, said Smith.
On why he thinks playing at ‘lock forward’ suits him so much, he added: “I think it’s getting the balance right of being a ball player and a go forward man.
“At 13 it really gives me that balance where I can play a bit or I can or I can get that hard carry in.
“We’ve got a couple of big men in the middle who compliment the style that I play, we can get some width off the ruck and it’s not just that one out carry, so we do really compliment each other in the middle.
“So even though it’s making me look good, we’re really kicking on as a team as well.”