PAUL SMITH has quit the Giants with immediate effect.
The 29-year-old back rower leaves the Galpharm club by mutual consent to pursue a career in computing.
Smith was in his fourth year at the Giants after joining from Rochdale and was in last year's Challenge Cup final side.
Unfortunately, he has not figured in the first team this season as he continues to recover from groin surgery.
Smith would have been out of contract at the end of this season and, with his 30th birthday looming, has been handed a career switch that was too good to turn down.
"I've had a really frustrating season, not breaking into the side and then needing surgery on my groin," he explained.
"That's set me even further back and I am now only just about back to full fitness.
"An opportunity has arisen for me to re-establish my IT career with a tremendous firm in the Manchester area and, with one eye on the future, it was simply too good an opportunity to turn down.
"Rugby league is a relatively short profession and these employment chances are few and far between.
"So I am grateful to the club for agreeing to my request to be allowed to leave.
"I do intend to play on as a part-time player in the National Leagues as, again, my new employer has given me a degree of flexibility to make this possible and for that I am most grateful."
"The Giants have been great to me and I have enjoyed over three memorable years, the highlight of which was the Challenge Cup final.
"I leave a bunch of mates that will always be mates and I know that they are going to go on and have a great season.
"I would also like to thank Jon Sharp, who took a chance on me and took me out of the National Leagues to have a crack at Super League.
"I have enjoyed the challenge and am a much better player for the experience. Jon's guidance and coaching over the years has been of the highest order for me and I have appreciated his, and the club's, input into this tough decision."
The fact the Giants are strong in the back-row position was probably a factor in Sharp agreeing to his release.
But the Giants chief still admits he is sad to let him go.
"It's a sad day when any player leaves the club as we are a close family here," he said.
"His reasons are right and I would pay tribute to the input he has had at the Giants.
"He arrived from a part-time environment and immediately blew me away with his skills and application to the game.
"He is a fine player and a real pleasure to coach, and he will always be welcome back here.
"The National Leagues are going to get a great player and a fine individual who conducts himself in a professional manner at all times."