Stuart to take risk with Smith debut - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Stuart to take risk with Smith debut

By Steve Jancetic 02/04/2010 06:36:00 PM Comments (0)

As much as Ricky Stuart wants the pain to end, the Cronulla coach says Tim Smith's arrival is about much more than a desperate bid to avoid creating NRL history on Saturday afternoon.

When new halfback recruit Smith makes his Sharks debut against his old club at Toyota Stadium, he will join a side which has lost its past 13 matches.

One more and they will join the 1998-99 Wests Magpies as the only sides to have lost 14 straight games since the advent of the NRL, but Stuart says Smith's signing is more about long-term goals.

"Timmy might win us the game but he definitely won't lose it - I promise you," Stuart said.

"That's not what we're after. We haven't thrown a lasso out to try and drag him in to win us a game of footy."

Without a win since last June, including a couple of trial matches, the Sharks are desperate and a win would be sweet indeed for Stuart.

And, if there's one omen working in the Sharks' favour, it would be that the last time Stuart unveiled a surprise choice in the No.7 - unheralded playmaker Scott Porter - Cronulla ended a nine-match losing streak with a heart-stopping win over Parramatta in round 12 last year.

They proceeded to win four matches on the trot, but that was the end of the glory run with no victories since.

"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't doing it tough," Stuart said.

"Every coach goes through this at some stage of their career and I'm going through mine.

"It's been a real tough 18 months but you've got to be tough with it. If you're not tough with it, things will crumble."

Smith wasted little time in insisting he was no saviour.

Though a clever playmaker, his greatest benefit to the side may not necessarily be what he does with the ball, but more taking pressure off Sharks skipper Trent Barrett.

Barrett has been forced into a first-receiver role over the opening three rounds, but Smith's arrival with allow the NSW Origin pivot to work wider of the ruck where he can get the likes of Blake Ferguson and excitement machine Albert Kelly more clean ball.

Stuart admitted throwing Smith into the action just five days after joining club was a risk, but one worth taking.

"I think it's a risk factor in our way - throw somebody in there that's got a bit of flamboyancy about his game, throw someone in there that can add that little bit of spark to our footy team," Stuart said.

"I'm excited that Timmy's going to play, and I know the players are going to be excited to have him there."

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2021 AAP

0 Comments about this article

Post a comment about this article

Please sign in to leave a comment.
Becoming a member is free and easy, sign up here.

« All sports news