Matty Smith is raring to go with Widnes in the Championship after what has been a testing couple of years for himself.
The 32-year-old joined the Vikings on a one-year deal from Super League side Catalans, with the option of another year in the club’s favour.
Smith linked up with Saints in 2017 after a successful five seasons at rivals Wigan – but things didn’t go to plan at his hometown club.
He said: “I’ll be honest, it was difficult. I had a lot of success at Wigan, I played the best rugby I’ve ever played in the four-and-a-half years I had there and I really felt like it was my club.
“I was settled in and at the time I felt like that was the club I was always supposed to play for. I then moved to my hometown club St Helens and the first game I played in I broke my leg, so I never quite got my fitness back from that.
“I then played four or five games trying to get back to full fitness and then I injured my eye so that kept me out for another couple of months so the first year was just shocking.
“We then had a new coach coming in (Justin Holbrook) and I didn’t play the year after so it was difficult for me to take – not only because I was injured but because it was my hometown club. You want to do well for your hometown club but it wasn’t meant to be and then I went to Catalans which didn’t work out but I’m at this point now where I need to enjoy my rugby.”
Smith will take a step down to play Championship rugby this season as he aims to help the Vikings gain promotion back to Super League.
And the former England international has opened up on dealing with critics during his time at St Helens and Catalans.
He added: “I think it got to me when I was younger but I think as you get older, I don’t think I have anything to prove to anyone having won what I’ve won at Wigan.
“But having said that, it was difficult and you want to have that success, especially at your hometown club and when you live in the town. I still support St Helens and I will this year with me not playing in Super League as well.
“I’m at Widnes now and hopefully I can turn my career around. I think everyone goes through parts of their life where it doesn’t go as well for you.
“It certainly hasn’t gone my way over the last couple of years but hopefully I can turn that around and start playing some good rugby again at Widnes.”