Matty Smith is determined to make the most of his move to Salford Reds, starting with today's trip to Hull Kingston Rovers. The scrum-half, 22, has failed to impress his hometown club St Helens and has been forced to look elsewhere to forge a career. He made 16 appearances on loan with the Crusaders last season and will spend this season playing for Salford in a similar arrangement. As he is out-of-contract at the end of the campaign, Smith acknowledges he is playing for his future in the game.
"I'm a St Helens lad and I'd love to play for them but it's not happened like that," he said. "I've got to take it on the chin and hopefully I can have a good year here at Salford. "I'm out of contract at Saints this year so I'm playing for a contract with any club. Hopefully, I can impress [the coach] Shaun McRae and get a contract here." Steve Tyrer, Ashley Gibson, Jodie Broughton and Daniel Holdsworth are all in line to make their first appearances for Salford. Hull KR will give debuts to Matt Cook and Mike Ratu.
The Catalans Dragons aim to follow up last September's play-off success when they open their campaign against Wakefield at Belle Vue. The Dragons secured a 25-16 victory over the Wildcats on their way to reaching the play-off semi-finals but their hopes of a repeat have been dealt a blow with the loss of France internationals Thomas Bosc and Jamal Fakir through injury. The teenager Martyn Smith looks set to make his Super League debut after being included in Harlequins' 19-man squad for their trip to Warrington.
Smith, an 18-year-old hooker or half-back, is a product of the club's scholarship and academy system and was one of five youngsters drafted into the senior squad for pre-season training. He follows in the footsteps of Ben Bolger, 20, who made his debut against Wakefield last week. Castleford produced the first shock of the season on Friday night with a 24-10 win at Leeds, the champions.