HALLAM University student Pat Smith is determined to graduate to being a first-team regular for Sheffield Eagles.
Smith was the unexpected choice to replace Simon Brown at stand-off against his home-town club York Knights and will battle to keep the shirt.
“It was a surprise because Simon and Dom Brambani have been together (at half-back) all season” he said.
“I was quite happy with my performance but there were areas I need to improve on but I haven’t played half-back at that level for a while so I was happy with myself.”
Smith, 22, who is in his final year of a maths degree, has normally been played at hooker by the Eagles and for Ireland.
He impressed the Eagles boss in the 44-10 win over York and looks set to keep his place for the trip to Swinton Lions on Sunday.
“Pat looked comfortable” said Aston. “There are still things he has to work on. Pat’s concerned that he isn’t a half-back but a hooker, well I tell him it’s only a number: play how you want to play; express yourself. He did a lot of good stuff. The last few weeks the penny seemed to have dropped with Pat and he’s getting a little bit more confidence. He’s starting to do the little things that we want.”
With his contract up at the end of the season Smith is ready to take up the challenge of playing at stand-off.
He added: “I want to play at Swinton and keep building my performance. I prefer playing at hooker but being able to play in two positions helps me. The last three games I’ve played have put me more in the shop window.”