Featherstone’s 26-year-old centre Sam Smeaton has joined Kingstone Press Championship rivals Sheffield Eagles on a one-year contract.
Smeaton made his comeback last season after a long spell on the sidelines following major surgery after damaging his kneecap in training shortly before the 2012 Championship Grand Final against Sheffield.
“I’m delighted to join Sheffield - I’ve spent quite a lot of time speaking to Mark Aston and have been impressed with what he’s had to say,” said Smeaton.
“I think he’s a similar sort of bloke to Daryl Powell who I played under for a while at Featherstone. He spoke a lot about the culture of the club and the closeness of the team; you can see the players are all good mates.
“He has a lot of respect from his own players and people around the game, I’ve spoken to a few lads at Sheffield and they have nothing but good things to say about the place.
“It’s always a tough, competitive game when you come up against Sheffield and those are the kinds of players that you want to be playing alongside.
“I need to get some consistency back because I have had a lot of time off through injury. Sheffield like to play expansive rugby and are putting together a really strong team. I tasted some success at Featherstone and I think the Eagles will definitely be up there over the next couple of years.”
Next season sees the league restructure take centre stage, and Smeaton is relishing the opportunity of testing himself against the calibre of player that will be dropping down from Super League with Bradford Bulls and London Broncos.
He added: “I think if you speak to any player they will tell you they don’t like playing in walkover games, they would much rather it be close.
“Recently there have only been maybe four or five teams that you know you’re going to have a good game against.
“It will bring the full league on with the teams coming down because you know before the games that they will all be tough challenges.
“It’s a fresh start for me, after going through the injury rehab I just feel like I needed something new; some new people and some fresh surroundings will help kick me on and work in my favour.”