Craig Smith (born 31 October 1971 in Kaitaia, New Zealand) is a former professional [1 ] rugby league footballer of the 1990s and 2000s. He formerly played for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Illawarra Steelers, St. George Illawarra Dragons and the Newcastle Knights as well as representing New Zealand and Queensland. Smith primarily played at prop.
Playing career [ edit ]
rugby union player in Northland, Smith moved to Queensland for college and took up rugby league. Smith was selected to represent [2 ] Queensland as a prop for games I and II of the 1997 State of Origin series and on the bench for game III. Smith played for the New Zealand Kiwis twelve times between 1998 and 2001. Smith played at prop forward for the St. George Illawarra Dragons in their 1999 NRL Grand Final loss to the Melbourne Storm. Smith was selected for the New Zealand team to compete in the end of season 1999 Rugby League Tri-Nations tournament. In the final against Australia he played at prop forward in the Kiwis' 22-20 loss. Following a series of suspensions in 2001 for contrary conduct and striking, Smith left the NRL and Australia in 2002 to play for European Super League club, Wigan Warriors. [3 ] With them he won the 2002 [4 ] Challenge Cup Final. In 2003 he was named at prop forward in the season's Super League Dream Team. Smith played for the Wigan Warriors at prop forward in the 2003 Super League Grand Final which was lost to the Bradford Bulls. In 2005, Smith agreed to a one-year deal and a return to the NRL with the Newcastle Knights. [5 ]
Although retiring at the end of the 2005 season, Smith was re-signed by Newcastle for the 2006 season.
A broken jaw in August 2006 sidelined him for several rounds but he was fit to return for Newcastle's finals appearances. [6 ] Smith played his last NRL game in Newcastle's semi-finals defeat by the [7 ] Brisbane Broncos. Smith was again coaxed out of retirement to take part in the [8 ] New Zealand Māori team that met the Indigenous Dreamtime team in a commemorative match at the 2008 Rugby League World Cup. [9 ]
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