TIM Smith thinks Manly Sea Eagles might sneak home in tomorrow’s NRL grand final while he looks forward to two big games in South Africa.
The 24-year-old Scone coalminer is off to the republic on Tuesday to play for Country NSW in two representative games in Johannesburg after being a late addition to the Country side.
He goes into camp at Potts Point at noon today.
Smith was a standout for Scone, Group 21 and the Northern divisional side this season.
“He scored 27 tries in 14 games for us,”Scone captain-coach Daniel Ritter said.
“He deserves his selection.
“I thought he should have been there from the start.
“It’s a great reward for him.
“He had a great season for us and was one of the best in the win over Northern Rivers and then the Newcastle game.”
Smith was also named the Scone Thoroughbreds’ most outstanding player of the season at their recent presentation night.
For Smith, it was a great honour.
Winning a late call-up into the Country touring teams is also another honour.
“I didn’t really expect it,” Smith said.
“I thought I’d missed out.”
Luckily for him, he had told his employers of the possibility he might win a berth in the two-week tour earlier in the season.
So when NSW Country selectors gave him a call last week, his employers “were great”.
“I can’t believe I’m actually going,” he admitted.
“A little bit shocked actually.
“I’m not 100 per cent sure what position I’ll play but I don’t care, I’m just glad I’m there.”
A versatile outside back, he has distinguished himself in the centres, on the wing and at fullback for the Thoroughbreds.
As a fullback, he has been outstanding and scored some breathtaking tries for his club.
While he has a few training sessions before flying out with his new Country teammates, he is also looking forward to watching tomorrow night’s NRL grand final.
And who is he tipping: “Manly I reckon. Their experience in grand finals might just tip them over the line.”