There is no substitute for experience - and that’s one of the reasons why Saints have brought Matty Smith back to his home-town club.
Whether he is the final piece in coach Keiron Cunningham’s jigsaw for Super League XXII, only time will tell but after a career in which he has made more than 200 appearance Smith still has plenty to offer a club that gave him his first big break in the sport a decade ago.
Smith, 29, bowed out at Wigan on a high last Saturday as the Warriors were crowned Grand Final winners against Warrington Wolves and no doubt he will be wanting to repeat the feat in the famous Red Vee jersey.
He is a ready-made replacement for Aussie half back Luke Walsh who is expected to be heading home shortly and will also play a major role in helping the on-field development of 22-year-old French scrum half Theo Fages and Danny Richardson, 20, who produced a player of the match performance at stand-off as Saints lifted the Academy crown at the expense of Wigan Warriors
a couple of weeks ago, and can’t be too far off forcing his way into the first team.
Moving to Wigan in 2012 via spells at Widnes, Celtic Crusaders and Salford Red Devils did not make Smith flavour of the month with some Saints’ fans but time is a great healer - judging by the response on Twitter where he has been welcomed back with open arms.
Stephen Murphy wrote: “Few Super League players with more experience and possesses a good kicking game, too.”
Kevin Pender posted: “A steady half back who wins trophies and can nurture Theo and Richardson. I will take that.”
Lee G added: “We have now signed three quality players with more than 600 games of experience behind them. A new direction and fresh impetus for next season.”
And Paul Rigby posted: “More than happy with the signing. Welcome back, Matty.”