Huddersfield Giants back row forward Paul Smith has left the club by mutual consent. The second rower was in his fourth year as a Giant but had not figured in the first team this season and is currently close to fitness after a groin operation.
Smith commented “I have had a frustrating season not breaking into the super league line up and then of course my groin needed repair which set me back and I am now just about back to full fitness. An opportunity has arisen for me to re establish my IT career with a tremendous firm in the Manchester area and with one eye on the future it was simply too good an opportunity to turn down. Rugby is a relatively short profession and these employment chances are few and far between so I am grateful to the club for agreeing to my request to be allowed to leave. I do intend to play on as a part time player in the national leagues as again my new employer has given me a degree of flexibility to make this possible and for that I am most grateful.”
“The Giants have been great to me and I have enjoyed three and a half memorable years – the highlight of which was the Challenge Cup final. I leave a bunch of mates that will always be mates and I know that they are going to go on and have great season. I would also like to thank Sharpy who took a chance on me and took me out of the national league to have a crack at Super League. I have enjoyed the challenge and am a much better player for the experience. Jon’s guidance and coaching over the years has been of the highest order for me and I have appreciated his , and the clubs, input into this tough decision. All the staff at the club from the office to the kitman and all the assistant coaches have been great with me and it is a wrench to leave but something I just have to do for my long term career.“
Giants Managing Director Richard Thewlis commented “ Having looked at the options Paul had in front of him it is difficult to say that he has done anything other than the right thing for himself and Lisa. I was initially immensely disappointed to hear that Paul was considering moving on but his reasons are all the right ones. He has been released with our very best wishes for his future and sincere thanks for his three and a half years service to the club. The club would not be where it is today without the input of Paul Smith and he should be looked up to by all players in the national league who dream of stepping up to the super league. Paul took the plunge to go full time and he has been rewarded with some great games, great memories and above all great friends at Huddersfield. He is an immensely popular character on and off the field and we shall miss him.
Head Coach Jon Sharp commented “ It’s a sad day when any player leaves the club as we are a close family here. His reasons are right and I would pay tribute to the input he has had on the team at the Giants. He arrived from a part time environment and immediately blew me away with his skills and application to the game. He is a fine player and we had no hesitation in extending his first contract into a third and then fourth year. He has been a pleasure to coach and he will always be welcome back here at the Galpharm. The national leagues are going to get a great player and a fine individual who conducts himself in a professional manner at all times."