Will Smith was plucked from the NSW Cup at the darkest point of Penrith’s injury crises and it was a case of the storm before the calm for him as he struggled to deal with the fullback position.
PLAYER RATING: 5/10
While Smith wasn’t technically poor on many occasions his first few matches back in first grade featured some comically poor attempts at things like bomb defusals, kick chases and try saving tackles.
No one player can be blamed for the slump Penrith endured in the second half of the season but Smith no doubt played his part in the woeful streak.
Once Penrith were well and truly out of finals contention we saw his true colours shine. Blinding acceleration, soft hands at the back and some solid organisation skills were highlights of the final few matches of the season.
It’s a shame we had to endure such poor performances for two or three exceptional ones and it’s obvious that if there was another option at fullback at the time he would certainly have been dropped straight away.
Kudos to him for somehow finding it within himself to improve despite fans calling for his head but NSW Cup is where he belongs at the moment and there’s still quite a chasm between his talent and the level that the NRL demands.