Pride newcomer already looks like future NRL star forward
AIDAN Smithwould not look out of place in the Canterbury Bulldogs' front row, and it isn't just because he looks exactly like Aiden Tolman and James Graham.
Former Bulldogs and North Queensland Cowboys front rower Paul Rauhihi believes the beach-blond Northern Pride recruit has all the makings of an NRL front rower.
Rauhihiwas a trainer for Auckland Rugby League's Northcote Tigers earlier this year when he first came into contact with Smith, a highly touted rugby union prospect converting to league.
Not long into the season, Rauhihi was contacting his former Cowboys teammate Chris Sheppard, the current Pride CEO, raving about the Tigers' new workhorse front rower.
"He's been trying to get me to come over here for a while," Smith said.
"I didn't know if I was ready, but he thought I could."
Rauhihi told the Pride there would be no limit to Smith's potential once he mastered league.
"He was always at training before and after doing extras by himself. He's got a great work ethic and a huge motor for a big man, which is pretty rare," the former New Zealand international said in a statement released by the Pride yesterday.
"He'll definitely do well in the Intrust Super Cup and the Pride won't regret signing him, that's for sure.
"He's still learning the game but has the potential to play in the NRL in the next few years."
Search YouTube for the term "Aidan Smith try assist" and you will see instantly why the Northern Pride followed Rauhihi's advice.
The clip shows Smith busting several tackles and outrunning defenders as he returns a kickoff by running 90m before passing to an outside back.
First-year Pride coach Jason Demetriouwas not disappointed when he met Smith in person.
"He's been chasing down his wingers, so he's got some speed," Demetriou said at a Pride training session.
"He's got a bit to learn about the game but we are lucky that we've got a few months to teach him that.
"He's willing to put in the work to do it.
"He's the first in at training and the last to leave, which is a good sign."
Tomorrow, the Northern Pride will hold their final session before the Christmas break.
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