Valleys' Sam Smith earns Capras recall
RUGBY LEAGUE: Gladstone Valleys centre Sam Smith has received a long-awaited recall to the CQ Capras line-up ahead of their Round 22 Intrust Super Cup clash against Townsville this weekend.
Smith will replace the injured Nathan Bassani (calf) for Saturday night's Brown Park showdown with the Blackhawks, his first appearance for the Capras since Round 3.
The 21-year-old played the first three games of the ISC season before a number of niggling injuries halted his progress.
Smith played the house down for Valleys in the Rockhampton Rugby League competition when fit, scoring 12 tries in eight appearances for the Diehards.
However, a Round-12 brain snap against Biloela, where he punched a Panthers player resulting in broken hand, sidelined the 198cm giant for five weeks until he returned to RRL action against Tannum Sands last weekend.
With sixth-placed Valleys missing out on a finals berth by five competition points, Smith's Capras inclusion offers the former North Queensland Cowboys under-20s player a shot at ISC redemption in the eyes of Capras coach Kim Williams.
"(Bassani's injury) opens up the door for Sam Smith who broke his hand mid-season,” Williams said.
"He had his first game back last week and is ready to go. We're glad to see him back.
"I am very interested to see how he goes defensively, we have struggled on the edges there, so it is a good chance for him to spend the last three games there and get some more experience at this level.
"He can secure that spot with a view to the future, it's a little late season test and I believe he's up to it.”
The Capras are looking to snap an eight-match losing streak against Blackhawks, with their last win coming in Gladstone against the Northern Pride in Round 12.
The Blackhawks and Capras played out a 26-all draw in Townsville in Round 11.
"We're certainly overdue for a win at home; we managed to get a draw with them earlier in the year so we know it is a task we are up for,” Williams added.