WAKEFIELD Wildcats scrum half Jeremy Smith can’t wait to pull on the red, white and blue after sorting out his UK visa problems, writes Nick Rigg.
The Kiwi has missed Wakefield’s first two Super League matches of the season following a longer-than-expected wait to have his working visa approved.
And the timing couldn’t have been much better, with the 28-year-old available for selection for Wakefield’s first home game of the season on Sunday (kick-off 3.30pm) - against his former club Salford City Reds.
“It’ll be quite interesting,” he admitted.
“It’s one of those things, they probably know you’re game but you know theirs. As a professional you play against your former teams, it makes a bit of fun. You have a bit of a joke, but come Sunday I’ll be in the Wakefield shirt.”
He continued: “It’s one of those things, it’s (the visa application) been a long process but it’s done now. We’re two games in and hopefully I haven’t missed too much and I’ll put my best foot forward now.
Smith hasn’t been allowed to join in full training sessions with his new teammates due to his trouble in obtaining a visa.
But he’s confident that he’s fit and ready for action if called upon by head coach John Kear this weekend.
“Without the visa it’s made training it a bit tricky,” he revealed.
“You can’t really train with the team too much but I’ve been in and around and showing my face but it’s all guns blazing now. I’m here now and ready to go.
“I’m coming back from a knee injury from the end of last year but I’ve had good rehab and I’m ready to go on that. It’s not ideal, you’d like to have some trial form, but you train as hard as you can off the field and hopefully come when you play you’re ready to go.”
Salford will arrive at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium out of form with two defeats from their first team games of the season.
But Smith, who spent two years in Greater Manchester with the Reds, insists they’ll be a tough proposition come 3.30pm on Sunday.
He said: “They’re going through a rough time at the moment and I’m feeling for them but they’ve got a good side and they’ll be a different side come Sunday.
“They have a lot of players that need to gel and I think it’ll be a tough game for us.”
The former Parramatta Eels man may have been cheering his new teammates on from the sidelines at Cardiff and in Perpignan for the first two rounds of the new campaign.
But he’s noticed a big boost to Wildcats’ confidence levels since the takeover of Andrew Glover last week, and the resulting victory against Catalans Dragons last time out.
“That’s a big thing, you get that first win under your belt,” he said.
“Being such a new side, and a young side, there’s been such a big turnover from last year, it just adds a bit of confidence that you’re doing the right thing and going in the right direction. It was a tough week for the club and the players didn’t even worry about it, they were ready to go, and by all accounts it was a good trip over there.”
The visit of Salford is Wakefield’s first match of their final season at Belle Vue.
And the Kiwi is keen for the Wakefield fans to act as an ‘extra man’ as Wildcats look for their second win on the spin.
“It’s always a good atmosphere here at Wakefield and I know I’d rather be playing for Wakefield than Salford this weekend,” he said.
“It always makes it pretty interesting on the sidelines. Hopefully the crowd will come in and support the team. I know there are good supporters here and I know they’ll make it exciting this weekend.”
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