Smith's worries exaggerated: Wigan coach - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Smith's worries exaggerated: Wigan coach

By Laine Clark 15/06/2008 10:20:09 PM Comments (0)

Controversial former Eel Tim Smith is one of the world's top three halfbacks who will revel in his low profile in England, according to his new coach and Wigan mentor Brian Noble.

The Warriors coach said Smith's problems were exaggerated by the NRL player's "gold fish bowl" existence in Sydney but would do everything in his power to help the recovering No.7.

Smith was a risk of being lost to the game after being released by Parramatta to treat his bi-polar disorder this season.

However, six weeks later Smith snapped up a lifeline thrown by English Super League heavyweights Wigan.

Smith - who is contracted for the remainder of 2008 and the 2009 season - is expected to make his Wigan debut next month.

Noble has asked Wigan fans to ignore the Australian headlines and judge Smith by his on-field exploits.

"I do know that he's one hell of a good player, up there among the best three halfbacks in the world," he told reporters.

"He's keen to play and get his career back on track and that is just what we can help him achieve.

"Hopefully, coming over here will do the lad the world of good and he needs to do his talking on the field."

Noble dismissed the notion that recruiting Smith was a gamble.

"If Tim needs an arm around his shoulder or even a finger pointing at him, then he will get it," he said.

"Personally I think the problems he's faced up to back home have been exaggerated.

"As a 19-year-old kid he was thrown out of a bar and that made headline news because over there in Australia, rugby league is their equivalent of our Premier League football (soccer).

"The players are in a goldfish bowl - every move is constantly watched.

"Over here the media pressure is less intense and I think Tim will be grateful for that and respond positively.

"I've spoken to him and he seems like a good kid and I reckon that bringing him on board here at Wigan is less of a gamble than people think."

Smith has spent the last six weeks with family on the Gold Coast and working as a carpenter.

Meanwhile, Wigan and former St George Illawarra playmaker Trent Barrett said he had not even contemplated playing the 2008 World Cup for Australia.

ARL chief executive Geoff Carr confirmed Barrett would be eligible for selection when he returned to Australia this year because he had signed a two-year NRL contract with Cronulla from 2009.

Barrett is returning early because his wife Kylie is pregnant and homesick.

But Barrett said he still had not considered international duty on his return.

"To be honest that (World Cup) is probably one step ahead at the moment - I've not even considered it," he told Wigan Today newspaper.

"I suppose it'll depend on how I'm feeling and how I'm playing."

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