Smith may restart league career in UK - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Smith may restart league career in UK

By Todd Balym 26/05/2008 06:58:15 PM Comments (0)

Former Parramatta halfback Tim Smith is set to resurrect his rugby league career in England, with Super League giants Wigan leading the race for his second coming.

Smith quit the NRL and the Eels just 52 days ago, citing his battle with bipolar disorder and returned home to family on the Gold Coast to escape media scrutiny.

He was officially released by the Eels two weeks later, who paid out part of his contract, and has since taken up work as a carpenter for three days a week.

But Smith is understood to be keen on relaunching his football career in England and away from the intense media spotlight he's endured throughout his short and dramatic career.

His manager David Riolo confirmed the 23-year-old was one of several clients he was negotiating contracts for during his recent three-week trip to the UK, but denied a deal had been done.

"I have not got a deal anywhere yet for him," Riolo said.

"We are looking at a few clubs but nothing has been done."

Wigan would be an ideal option for Smith because he would be able to reunite with close Parramatta friend Mark Riddell, who signed a three-year deal with the Warriors almost two weeks ago.

Riddell was optimistic his former teammate would join him at Wigan but said the most important thing was Smith returned to football in his own time and wasn't pressured back too soon.

"Everyone wants to see him personally just get his health right first and then worry about football," Riddell told AAP.

"He has had a good couple months back up home with his parents so he is in a lot better state of mind these days.

"I speak to Timmy at least once or twice a week but I leave that football stuff up to him. He has to make that decision for himself when he is right.

"There is no need for any players to be pushing him to play, he has to make that decision when he feels comfortable.

"It would be great if he comes, if he doesn't I'm not too fussed because I will know he is making the right decision for himself.

"If he signs I suppose we will be playing together again in 2009."

Riddell said an escape to the UK would be ideal for Smith as he would have far less media scrutiny than he battled with in Sydney.

"It's definitely not as much pressure put on players overseas," he said.

"They're not under the microscope like they are here to the point where it's ridiculous, so hopefully Timmy can get over there and play some good footy."

The likelihood of Smith joining Wigan may also help end the uncertainty surrounding Trent Barrett's future at the club as the former Test and NSW star has only received a `release in principle' from the club for next season.

Wigan had been holding out confirmation of the release until they found a replacement playmaker, which some believed was the case after last week's acquisition of Bulldogs utility Cameron Phelps.

But Barrett's manager Wayne Beavis attempted for the third time to retrieve a release confirmation from Wigan over the weekend without success.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

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