Matty Smith builds perfect player from five attributes including St Helens, Wigan Warriors legends

Drew Darbyshire
Matty Smith My Perfect Player Alamy

From left to right: James Roby (St Helens), Matty Smith (St Helens) and Micky McIlorum (Catalans)

St Helens women’s head coach and men’s assistant Matty Smith is Love Rugby League‘s next guest on My Perfect Player.

In a new feature coming to Love Rugby League in 2024, we’re asking players – past and present – to build their perfect rugby league player.

There are five categories that fit the bill for the perfect rugby league player: passing, kicking, speed, tackling and rugby IQ.

Our first two guests on My Perfect Player were Wigan Warriors captain Liam Farrell and Warrington Wolves fullback Matt Dufty: next up is former England international Smith. We asked the two-time Super League champion to build his all-time player from the five key attributes above: all hypothetically speaking of course, we didn’t actually send him to a laboratory!

Without further ado, here is Matty Smith‘s Perfect Player..

Rugby IQ

Sean Long St Helens Alamy

Sean Long. A childhood hero of mine, I got to play a little bit alongside him and be in the same squad as him when I was younger. He knows the game inside out so I’ll go with Sean Long’s brain. A fantastic player, his rugby brain is second to none.


James Roby St Helens Alamy

Every single time I played 7 for Saints and I had James Roby giving me the ball, it was always on the money. I’ll probably say his dummy half passing is the best I’ve seen in terms of a hooker. His general passing was always on the button and made my job a lot easier.

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Lee Briers and Danny Brough Alamy

I’ve got two in mind, they are both as good as each other really and I don’t think you can separate them. Knowing him a little bit as a St Helens lad, Lee Briers was something else when kicking over the sticks and last plays, he could spiral bomb it, he could put it wherever he wanted. His short and long kicking game was fantastic.

Danny Brough as well, playing against him, he could open you up with his kicking game alone and put you under really pressure, so I’ll go with them two: a right footer in Briers and left footer in Brough!


Micky McIlorum Catalans Dragons Alamy

I could only really go off the players I played with.. Someone who never missed tackles, put his body on the line every single time and could hit people like a brick wall was Micky McIlorum. He was a great person to play with in terms of his defence. You knew what you was getting with Micky, he’d just constantly put people on their backside and he did it with a smile on his face as well.


Martin Offiah Wigan Warriors Alamy

When growing up, Martin Offiah was someone who I just thought ‘wow’ when they started running. Once he got in the clear I don’t think anyone could catch him. Anthony Sullivan was quick as well, I remember growing up watching him and no one could catch him. Darren Albert was up there too, but I’ll go with Offiah for speed.

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