Former Super League veteran Daniel Smith has made a short hop across Yorkshire ahead of 2024, joining Bradford Bulls on a two-year deal following his exit from Featherstone Rovers.
30-year-old Smith was one of 17 departures from Post Office Road announced last week after James Ford’s side failed to win promotion to Super League, stunned on home soil by eventual promotees London Broncos in the play-off semi-finals having been crowned Championship league leaders at an absolute canter.
The forward – able to play as a prop and at loose – becomes the Bulls’ 27th confirmed squad member for 2024, with new head coach Eamon O’Carroll looking to better a play-off semi-final exit this term.
Daniel Smith lays out Super League ambitions for Bradford Bulls
Pontefract-born Smith – a product of the Leeds Rhinos academy – only departed Castleford earlier this year having made five Super League appearances in the early stages of the campaign after featuring on loan for Halifax Panthers against London.
An initial loan to Featherstone soon turned into a permanent deal until the end of the season. But after the failed promotion bid, having featured 18 times for the Rovers, the veteran is ready for a new challenge at Odsal.
He told the Bulls’ website: “I am delighted to get the deal across the line. The club contacted me last week and it has all happened really quick, so I am really happy and excited to get stuck into training, and try to get Bradford back into Super League.
“The playing squad is very good and I thought they were the best team I played against last season. With the history of the club, it is one of the biggest clubs in England, so I am really happy to be a part of it and I can’t wait.
“I know a few of the lads and have played against them quite a bit, I played amateur rugby with Ben Blackmore, and Tom Holmes & Joe Arundel live around the corner, so I am excited to be back playing with them.
“I am 30 now, having played in Super League for 10 years I have experience so hopefully I can help the younger lads and push the standards to get the best out of everyone.”
Bulls boss Eamon O’Carroll describes new signing Smith as ‘the perfect fit’
New Bulls chief O’Carroll takes up the Odsal hotseat from 2024 having departed his role as Super League Grand Finalists Catalans Dragons’ assistant coach.
As noted by the player, he has moved quickly to recruit Smith, a man with 137 Super League appearances to his name made between Castleford, Wakefield Trinity and Huddersfield Giants.
On the forward’s signing, O’Carroll added: “We have been looking to recruit and bring in quality in this position for some time, but it’s important we brought the right person in.
“Once we heard of Dan’s availability, we worked quickly to ensure we got this over the line as we believe Dan will be the perfect fit for us and will compliment the quality we have in our pack.
“I really feel we have great balance in our pack now. I’m really happy with how our squad is shaping up, having retained a number of key individuals and brought in quality. We are still hopeful of adding to our roster before the start of pre-season.”