Jeremy Smith will miss this weekend’s Test against Australia. Picture: Getty ImagesKnights recruit Jeremy Smith is expected to be ready for pre-season training with his new NRL club next month despite a shoulder injury that has ruled him out of the New Zealand team for the one-off Test against Australia in Townsville on Saturday night.
The 32-year-old former Sharks, Dragons and Storm enforcer will see a specialist this week for a second opinion after shoulder surgeon Des Bokor recommended that Smith should have an operation to repair torn cartilage.
The Newcastle Herald has been told the injury is not serious and, whether Smith has surgery or allows it to heal without an operation, it will not stop him reporting for pre-season training with his new teammates on November 2.
Responding to concerned Knights supporters on Twitter yesterday, Smith tweeted: ‘‘don’t worry bout me boys ill be sweet!! #loveit’’.
Smith, whom Cronulla released from the final year of his contract on compassionate grounds, has signed a three-year deal with the Knights.
In a statement issued late last Friday night, the New Zealand Rugby League said Smith suffered the injury in his last game for Cronulla, a 34-16 loss to the Raiders in a qualifying final at Canberra Stadium on September 9.
‘‘A thorough medical recently with his new club, the Newcastle Knights, suggested further examination of the shoulder was needed,’’ the NZRL said.
‘‘An MRI scan this week has shown the severity of the injury had been underestimated and Smith has been ruled out.’’
Knights coach Wayne Bennett has recruited Smith and Beau Scott, two members of his 2010 premiership-winning St George Illawarra team, and former South Sydney and New Zealand Test enforcer David Fa’alogo to add some starch to the Newcastle pack.
Smith, who had two seasons at the Sharks after leaving the Dragons, was named Cronulla’s Player of the Year at the club’s awards presentation last month.
He has been replaced in the New Zealand Test side by Wests Tigers forward Adam Blair, who has played 25 internationals.
The Kiwis assembled in Cairns yesterday and will train today.
Meanwhile, veteran hooker Danny Buderus won his third Players’ Player of the Year award at the Knights’ awards presentation at Wests Leagues Club, New Lambton, on Friday night.
Buderus, who rejoined the Knights this year after three seasons with English Super League champions Leeds Rhinos, was voted Players’ Player in 2004, the year he was the NRL’s Dally M medallist, and in 2008, his last year at the Knights before joining Leeds.
Second-rower Chris Houston won his first Knights Player of the Year award, and Bennett gave his coach’s award to mid-season recruit Willie Mason.
Former NSW winger James McManus was named Clubman of the Year and Junior Kangaroos back-rower Alex McKinnon was Rookie of the Year.