Fax sign Smeaton, Bennion for 2016

Sam Smeaton
Sam Smeaton

Halifax have announced the arrival of the Sheffield Eagles centre Sam Smeaton and the former Warrington forward Gavin Bennion, who have both signed one year deals at the Shay.

Smeaton will provide competition for frontline centres Ben Heaton and Steve Tyrer after rejecting the chance to become a full-time player with the Eagles.

Bennion, who can play anywhere in the pack, returns to England after a successful spell in Australia with Queensland Cup side Mackay Cutters, his form earning him a place in Queensland Rangers representative side.

The pair join Will Sharp, Gareth Moore and Simon Grix as close-season additions to Richard Marshall’s squad.

Smeaton’s Championship credentials are well established after he became a mainstay of Daryl Powell’s successful Featherstone sides.

“Sam’s a quality Championship player,” said Marshall.

“He didn’t want to go full time with Sheffield, so we were able to make him an offer for next season.

“He has some size and he’s good defensively and he’s very good at making space for whoever plays outside him.

“He gets opposition wingers interested and then has the skills to get the pass away; the three tries that Rob Worrincy scored against us at Sheffield earlier this year were the result of that.

“He has some very strong competition in Ben and Steve, but he’s coming to play every game, not sit on the bench.

“I think those three will really bring the best out of each other next year.”

Bennion, 21, is more of an unknown quantity, but Marshall - who worked with the player at Warrington - labelled him a “significant addition”.

“He is a big, athletic, aggressive forward who can play big minutes either at prop or back row,” said Marshall.

“He played for England Academy while he was at Warrington and terrorised the Australians, but it didn’t really happen for him at club level after that..

“He had a loan at Featherstone, which I’m not sure suited him, and then he’s had a really good year in Australia with Mackay.

“He is a fair player who is only young; he just needs nurturing, which we’re confident we can do.

“I hope and think he’ll make an impact for us.”