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Leigh Centurions sign St Helens playmaker

Aaron Smith has joined Leigh Centurions on a season-long loan.

Smith, 25 was limited to just nine Saints appearances in 2021, mainly from the interchange bench and with the news that James Roby will be going around again in 2022, plus the acquisition of Parramatta hooker Joey Lussick, Smith will look to gain some regular game time on loan at neighbours Leigh next season.

25-year-old Smith has already made five appearances for the Leythers having represented them in 2019 on dual registration and he will head there on the back of scoring two tries for the England Knights in their recent 54-6 win over Jamaica at Castleford.

Paying tribute to Saints legend James Roby, who he has understudied for several years, Smith told Leighrl.co.uk: “I’ve always looked up to James as a role model. He’s an unbelievable player and a really nice guy. He’s always there to encourage you and help you with your game. Unfortunately for me he plays big minutes and it’s always a struggle to get in ahead of him.

“Being part of that St Helens team has been an unbelievable experience. To get three titles in a row is credit to all the lads and the coaching staff for their dedication, hard work and all the sacrifices they have made on the back of Covid.

“I’ve had a small glimpse of what playing for Leigh is like before, and I’m really looking forward to pulling on the shirt and showing the fans what I can do,” he said. “I want to have a good year and help the club achieve its aim of winning the competition.”

Saints Head Coach Kristian Woolf said:“I want to wish Aaron all the best at Leigh next season. He is a talented player who has come through our Academy. His game time has been limited playing behind such a consistent player as James Roby and so we want to allow him the opportunity to play more footy and develop into a genuine Super League number nine.”

Leigh Centurions Head of Rugby Chris Chester said: “Aaron has been a great player for Saints but with his game time limited will now have the opportunity to play regularly for the next 12 months.

“He’s been a great understudy to James Roby and has got a really good work ethic and skill base. Everyone I’ve spoken to gives him good wraps and says what a good kid he is.

“He played exceptionally in the England Knights game and he’s an important signing for us. We are getting the spine of the team together now and with Aaron playing in such a pivotal position I jumped at the chance to sign him.

“I’d like to thank the Saints CEO Mike Rush and head coach Kristian Woolf for their help in this loan deal, which will be of mutual benefit, and which confirms the excellent relationship between the two clubs.”

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