England ace Morgan Smithies has paid tribute to Wigan Warriors after his move to NRL side Canberra Raiders was confirmed.
The 22-year-old forward has put pen to paper on a three-year deal with the Raiders from 2024, bringing his eight-year association with Wigan to an end.
Smithies came through the ranks at Wigan, making 114 appearances for the Warriors since his first team debut in 2019.
The former Siddal junior won a Super League Grand Final, two League Leaders’ Shields and a Challenge Cup whilst with Wigan as well as making his international debut for England earlier this year.
— Morgan Smithies (@morgan_smithies) October 31, 2023
Morgan Smithies bids a fond farewell to Wigan Warriors ahead of making move Down Under
In an emotional message, Halifax-born Smithies thanked Wigan for everything they’d done for him as he achieves his dream of playing in the NRL.
Smithies said: “I can’t thank Wigan enough for what they have done in my rugby league career to date.
“Joining Wigan in the scholarship and coming through to debut for the club, playing over 100 games for the club, and now leaving as a Challenge Cup and Super League winner – I couldn’t have asked for more.
“I now get to move on to the next part of my career and achieve a goal of playing in the NRL.
“I have been able to achieve so much at this club through the guidance of Matty Peet, Shaun Wane, Adrian Lam and Kris Radlinski. I would not have the opportunity to go and play in the NRL without Wigan and the support of these men.
“To Adrian for giving me, as a teenager, my debut and my first opportunity.
“To Matty, who has coached me since I was 15 years old, and played a major role in my development as a rugby league player, I can’t thank him enough for his support to me on and off the field, and for his understanding and support in assisting with this NRL opportunity. I am glad we were able to finish with a Grand Final and go out on a high together.
“I would also like to thank Kris Radlinski, Ian Lenagan and my agent Liam Ayoub for their efforts behind the scenes in working this out whilst I maintained my sole focus on helping this club reach the heights we have been able to in 2023.
“And to the Wigan fans, I am glad we brought home the title to Wigan. I will always be a Wigan Warrior and can’t wait to see you all support the boys next year as they attempt to win another World Club Challenge and aim to go back-to-back.”