PARRAMATTA half-back Tim Smith has sought indefinite leave from the NRL club to overcome his battle with bipolar disorder. Smith approached the Eels this morning and advised his team-mates at training today of his plans to take time away from the sport and return to his family on the Gold Coast to recover from his mental health problems. Smith says he has been battling with bipolar disorder for 18 months and told his teammates he wants to get himself right before he can begin to focus on football again. "This morning I made a request to the club to be stood down from this weekend's game," Smith said, reading from a prepared statement. "They have granted me leave and I have just had a meeting with my team-mates to tell them of where I am at. "I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder 18 months ago. In this time I have been seeking professional advice and professional medical help to help me deal with day to day life of bipolar disorder. "I am not using bipolar disorder for any negative things or any decisions I've made in the past. However, I am not coping well with the pressure and public scrutiny I am under." His manager, David Riolo, said Smith had made a very brave decision but has no doubt he'll return to the NRL. "I have no doubt he will come back," Riolo said. "He is a quality person from a good family and he'll work hard to get back from this." Smith has a long history of misdemeanours at the NRL club involving alcohol and spent part of the preseason in a rehabilitation clinic on the Gold Coast. He has also suffered from depression and arrived at the club around 11am today with Riolo, two hours after the scheduled morning session. Eels coach Michael Hagan was due to speak to the media following the session but cancelled at the last minute after noting Smith's absence. Smith has played just three NRL games this year in his comeback from shoulder surgery and has copped the brunt of the criticism for the Eels successive losses. But his teammates have stood behind him, with halves partner Brett Finch sympathising with the 23-year-old over the ongoing criticism. "The continual criticism, I've had it myself in my career and it certainly gets you down and you get sick of hearing it," Finch said prior to training today. "I thought (Smith) played pretty well on the weekend. I thought his kicking game was strong. "I feel sorry for him because I know what he is going through, you certainly don't like to see your teammates cop that criticism all the time."