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Lee Smith - Player of the Academy Season
Posted by southstander on December 28 2004 - 16:45:51

Super Smithy
by Matthew Horton

After a season which has been Danny McGuire crowned the First Grade player of the season by a clear margin, the same could be said for the Under-21's. Full-Back/Winger Lee Smith was a clear winner by 30 votes in the poll from runner-up Luke Stenchion...

Lee made a couple of appearances at the back of 2003 for the Senior Academy, most notably after scoring SEVEN tries in a Junior Academy match.

In the 2004 season Lee made 18 starts and 1 from the bench and scored 21 tries, second only to Peter Fox and kicked 21 goals for a points return of 126. From his 18 starts Lee only failed to cross the tryline in three games, against Salford at home during the grading phase, away at Warrington and the Grand Final.

After a short spell back in the Junior Academy in May, missing the game at Hull, Lee was selected at Full Back for the game at Morley against Wigan. He returned with a hat-trick and went onto score at least one try in the next 11 games he played in, the run ending at the Grand Final.

Also during the season Lee represented Yorkshire in the Junior Academy Origin series and was then selected for the England Under-18 tour to New Zealand and Australia were again playing from Full Back he plated a major role in the success ofthe touring party.

Regular academy watchers John_D and Puig-Aubert have contributed their favourite Lee Smith moment from the season......

John_D:

"One moment sums up Lee Smith's year for me. Leeds looked on the brink of defeat against Halifax until he turned the game with one moment of individual brilliance. Taking the ball to the line on the last tackle, he chipped, regathered and spun in one flowing movement before sending his opposite number the wrong way as he cantered to the line to rescue the game. "

Puig-Aubert:

"My favorite Lee Smith moment was the first home match of the under 21 season: at home to Salford during the grading phase.

"Smithy didn't score but made a couple of great breaks but what marked him as class was his positioning and defence. Twice Salford appeared to have an overlap and tried to take Smithy on on the outside and twice he put his man into touch. Everyone knows he scores tries for fun and makes break after break but his mature reading of the game and defensive positioning complete the picture for me. If he applies himself to the game he'll be a big, big star."

So its congratulations to Lee, a well deserved winner of this seasons Under-21 player of the year.

Lee will be presented with the 'Senior Academy Player of the Season Trophy' at the SouthStander.com New Year Party - keep your eyes on this site for details.

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