It was merely a matter of time, but the Newcastle Knights have their man – signing a 3-year deal with the Hunter-based club, following his release from the Sharks due to personal reasons.
Smith, who has won two grand finals, will play for his fourth NRL club – with prior stints at the Melbourne Storm, the St George Illawarra Dragons, the Cronulla Sharks, and now the Newcastle Knights.
Smith will once again be coached under Wayne Bennett, who was the coach at the Dragons during his 2-year stint there that saw him win the premiership in 2010 – and the experienced back-rower is looking forward to that chance again.
â€œIâ€™m very excited to be joining the Newcastle Knights and Iâ€™m really looking forward to playing in front of the Clubâ€™s Members and supporters,â€ Smith said.
â€œIt will be great to reunite with Wayne; Iâ€™ve played under him before and I know what he brings to the table. Heâ€™s a great coach with plenty of experience and his record speaks for itself.
â€œI canâ€™t wait to join the rest of the team and get stuck into training.â€
For Knight coach Wayne Bennett, he uses one word to describe the signing of Smith at the club – a coup.
â€œWe are very fortunate to have Jeremy coming to the Club, I just didnâ€™t think a quality player would be available,â€ Bennett said.
â€œHe got an opportunity to leave Cronulla and we got an opportunity to take him; I couldnâ€™t believe our luck.
â€œIt is certainly one I didnâ€™t think would happen until next year but we grabbed it as quick as we could.
Bennett is excited to work with Smith again, and believes his experience both on and off the field, will be invaluable to the club moving forward.
â€œWe will all see what Jeremy brings on the field, but it is what he brings off the field as well,â€ Bennett added.
â€œHe is a highly motivated person, great in a team environment and will help all those around him play better because of his presence.
â€œHis actions certainly speak louder than his words, but he isnâ€™t afraid to speak up either. He wonâ€™t tolerate teammates that arenâ€™t giving their best.â€