Daniel Smith is hoping to use the pain of missing out on a Giants’ play-off semi-final spot against Wigan Warriors as his motivation to succeed in 2016.
The 22-year-old prop arrived at the John Smith’s Stadium from Wakefield Trinity Wildcats midway through last season and played in the final nine games of the regular and Super 8s series.
But the former Leeds Rhinos Academy front-row forward, who spent a year in Australia with South Sydney Rabbitohs Under 20s before coming back to England with Wakefield in 2014, missed out on a spot in Huddersfield’s play-off semi-final side at Wigan.
Smith was forced to watch the game from the DW Stadium stands as his teammates were beaten 32-8 and missed out on a first Super League Grand Final appearance.
That made it a double blow for the Pontefract-born forward.
But rather than sulk, Smith has immediately taken steps to make sure there’s no repeat in the future.
“Obviously, I was gutted to miss out on a place in the team that played at Wigan. It was the biggest game of our season,” said Smith.
“I’d played in every game since I’d arrived from Wakefield, so to be told I’d miss this one was really tough to take.
“But Paul (Anderson) was honest with me and explained exactly why he took the decision to go with the side he did.
“So, I know 100% why I missed out, and I’m determined to make sure I take that on board and learn from the reasons why.
“That’s been a focus of mine throughout pre-season, and that really has helped, to be honest.
“Making sure that what happened at Wigan doesn’t happen again has been a major source of motivation for me.
“And approaching things that way has certainly kept me going when the pre-season training sessions have been really tough – and we’ve had a few of those, I can tell you!
“But if you want to be successful it’s important you put in the hard work now. You know you’ll reap the rewards later in the year.”
And having signed for the Giants during the middle of last year, Smith feels he’s benefiting from a full first pre-season with his ‘new’ club.
“Although I don’t feel like a new signing, the fact it’s my first pre-season here is important,” he added.
“Pre-season’s are pretty similar at every club – they’re all tough – but it has felt good to be involved with the boys here throughout this pre-season work.
“We’re a very tight-knit group, and doing all this tough stuff together helps brings us all even closer.”