England head coach Shaun Wane insists that the NRL ‘will love’ Morgan Smithies, with the forward’s move Down Under confirmed earlier today.
Smithies was released from the remainder of his contract at Wigan Warriors, signing for Canberra Raiders in Australia’s elite competition on a three-year deal starting in 2024.
Bowing out of the DW Stadium as a Super League champion having featured in their Grand Final triumph over Catalans Dragons at Old Trafford earlier this month, Smithies will turn 23 next month.
England boss Shaun Wane lauds ‘all action’ Morgan Smithies following confirmed NRL move
After his move to Canberra was confirmed, the Halifax-born ace’s call-up to the England squad ahead of the final test against Tonga this Saturday was announced.
Having featured against France in April, Smithies could well pick up a second senior international cap at Headingley this weekend before departing for Australia.
National chief Wane – who has a strong relationship with the Wigan academy product – is adamant his new employers in the NRL are going to really enjoy having him at their disposal.
Speaking about the Canberra-bound forward in today’s pre-match press conference at the venue for Saturday’s third and final test, Wane said: “He’s good. His ball carrying has improved, which it needed to, but he’s all action and he’s similar to Morgan Knowles.
“He’s not quite as big, but he carries the ball better now, which is something he had to get better at. I like him. He’s got a chance of playing on Saturday.
“He’ll need to change a few things and improve on certain areas to make a strong mark over there, because it’s a different competition, but the Aussies will love him – he’s all action.
“He defends and defends, and he’s a great kid, but that’s a different ball game over there, so he needs to be a lot better.”