Smith boosts Leeds by staying for extra year

"I'm delighted to have accepted an extension to my contract," said Smith, who steered Leeds to the Super League title in his first season in charge.

Smith was originally brought over on a fixed-term contract, with his predecessor, Daryl Powell, due to resume his duties this season. Powell is now the head coach at Leeds Tykes and Smith has delayed his ambition to coach back home in the NRL. One of Smith's assistant coaches, Barrie McDermott, is being talked into a playing comeback, just months after retiring. The 33-year-old prop is a target for Widnes as they try to regain their Super League status.

Widnes have lost one prop, Ryan Tandy, for three months after shoulder surgery. The other is McDermott's best friend, Terry O'Connor, who could sway him into one last season.

The former Bradford assistant Mick Potter has emerged as the favourite for the coach's job with the Catalan Dragons when they announce their appointment this week.

The new professional club in Wales, the Celtic Crusaders, have their coach, John Dixon, back on duty after an operation in Australia for prostrate cancer.