Wakefield Wildcats have re-signed Tim Smith from Salford Red Devils, after a successful loan spell earlier this year.
Smith, who left Wakefield at the end of the 2013 season to join the Red Devils, has returned to his former club on a permanent deal, signing a one-year contract at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium.
And Wildcats boss James Webster told League Express the deal was “fantastic” for Wakefield ahead of a huge 2015 campaign, and said he was delighted to finally land the Australian half-back.
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“Everybody knows Tim has been a pivotal part of our team for a long period of time now, and we’re delighted we can keep hold of him for a while longer,” Webster said.
“He’s a very valuable asset to have; when Tim plays well we’ve got a chance of beating any team in the competition on our day. He enjoys being at Wakefield, he’s played well when he’s been here, and he enjoys the added pressure of being one of the main players in a team.
“Tim is really happy to be involved at Wakefield, and the fact he’s committed to us is simply fantastic news for us as a club.”
Webster admitted the club were exploring other options should the deal for Smith fall through, but said although they had to investigate other options, they were never really close to striking a deal with anyone other than Smith.
“We did have contingency plans in place in the event we weren’t able to get him, but thankfully Timmy made his thoughts known pretty early on that he wanted to play here – if Salford would let him go.
“We had a few irons in the fire; we know who we would have liked, but that was always up to other things not happening. We had to investigate it; we didn’t go too far down the road but we didn’t want to get caught short in case Tim’s deal didn’t come off. We had a look, but we weren’t close to signing anyone.”
Webster also confirmed that some of the squad’s key players who went in for post-season surgery are likely to be fit for the start of pre-season – but did admit that Kyle Trout will be out until Christmas.
The Wakefield boss also said the club may not be done with their recruitment just yet, revealing he is looking for a potential target in the backs to beef up their squad ahead of the new season.
“Nick Scruton is good from his surgery, he’ll be fine for the first day of pre-season, but Kyle will be missing up until Christmas. Danny Kirmond will be fine for day one, and so will Scott Anderson. We’re generally in a reasonably good state ahead of the start of pre-season.
“We’ve a couple missing because of international duties like Mickael Simon and Pita Godinet, but other than that we’re alright for the first week of training.
“We’re a little bit short in the backs at the moment; we might need one or two. We’ll see how that goes and see what develops – but there’s certainly nothing concrete to report on just yet.”