Smith: Catalans will be fiery and physical

Wigan scrum-half Matty Smith is looking forward to a physical encounter when the Warriors open their Super League campaign on Friday at home to Catalans Dragons.

Encounters between the teams have been fiery and brutal in recent seasons, and Smith is expecting more of the same at the DW Stadium.

“We’re faced with a massive task, and a big team, in Catalans,” he told Love Rugby League.

“We’ve prepared well. We’re happy and we know where we’re at, and we’re looking forward to Catalans.”

Fixtures between the two teams have often been distinguished by personal conflicts between some players.

Smith expects two players in particular to clash at some stage in the game on Friday evening.

“I think Mickey McIlorum and Olivier Elima usually have something going on!” he said.

“We always have physical games against Catalans. Shaun Wane wants us to be a physical side and a tough side.

“Catalans are that kind of side too, because they’re so big and aggressive.

“We’ve always had big games against them. We were embarrassed, really, away from home against them last year, when it was 58-16 or something like that.

“It was not good for us, so we’ll be looking to amend that.

“But we always have good battles against Catalans, and it’s one that we’re definitely looking forward to.”

Catalans have made a number of new signings during the close season, and Smith is looking forward to clashing with a former Wigan great on Friday.

“One of our old mates too, in Pat Richards!” he smiled.

Richie Myler is a great signing, Glenn Stewart is a world-class player, they’ve signed really well.

“On paper, they’re definitely a top four side, with the players they’ve got.

“It’s just can they travel away from home? They’ve obviously struggled with that in previous years.

“I’m sure they’ll be looking to change that, and it starts with us.”

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