Wigan Warriors ace Harry Smith has heaped praise on boss Matt Peet ahead of their Super League Grand Final showdown with Catalans Dragons tonight.
The 23-year-old made his 100th appearance for the club as they lifted the League Leaders’ Shield with victory at Leigh Leopards in the final round of the regular season.
Kicking seven goals last weekend, he then helped fire Peet’s men back to Old Trafford for the first time since 2018, running out 42-12 winners in the home semi-final against Hull KR.
And speaking to Love Rugby League exclusively ahead of the trip down Sir Matt Busby Way, the half-back – who played under Peet in the Warriors’ academy – detailed just how valuable their connection is.
Wigan Warriors ace Harry Smith lauds head coach Matt Peet
Smith said: “I’m just playing with the confidence that Matty gives me and the team around me do too. We’ve got a lot of good players and a good spine, so there’s a lot of helping factors around me to be honest.
“I’ve known Matty since I was 14 so I know how he works, and he knows how I work. Knowing each other so well helps me too, he’s very clear in what he wants from me and he makes it easy for me to do my job for the team.
“To be able to achieve what we have with the team this season has been brilliant, the Grand Final’s what we’ve been working for all year.
“It’s going to be unbelievable for me and my family. Obviously, going to the games as a young lad and wanting to do it, it’s what you dream of doing. To now have the chance to do it and hopefully get the win, it would be really special for me and my family.”
Warriors half-back reflects on progress in last 12 months
In Peet’s first year at the helm, Wigan won the Challenge Cup with victory over Huddersfield Giants. Smith dabbed the kick through for their winning try late on at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium as winger Liam Marshall flew over for the winning four-pointer.
They would go on though to bow out of the Super League play-offs with a shock defeat on home soil to Leeds Rhinos at the last-four stage, having gone into that game as heavy favourites.
Having gone one step further already this term by getting themselves to Old Trafford, Smith reflected on what’s been a year of progress, and gave us an insight into what this week looks like from a player’s point of view.
The England international said: “I think it’s gone well, we’ve built well and won some big games through the season when we’ve been down a few numbers.
“Especially in these last few months, we’ve found some form as a team and I’ve personally been working on consistency, playing well in more games. I feel I’ve been able to do that, so there’s positives all round.
“We’ll just try and make this week as similar to the ‘norm’ as it can be. We train with the same intensity, and just accept the outside noise from the media, taking it head on really.
“We take the praise that we get, but when it comes to the rugby side of things, we want it to be the same. The outside noise is the only difference really.”