Wigan Warriors: Concerns raised as former Super League duo highlight Achilles heel ahead of play-offs

Josh McAllister

Super League pundits and former players Kyle Amor and Danika Priim fear Wigan’s conversion kicking may cost them heading into the play-offs.

Young England international Harry Smith is the club’s number one choice, but the 23-year-old most recently missed three conversions in the Round 22 clash against Hull, forcing the game into golden point.

He failed with two attempted field goals in the extra period before nailing a 40 metre effort in the 88th minute of the Round 22 contest.

Smith, who has been ever-present in 2023, has converted 76 goals in the current Super League campaign, missing 41 attempts to give him a 64.9% success rate.

Wakefield’s Will Dagger currently enjoys the highest success rate with 88%, although from only 36 attempts (32 kicks).

Warrington skipper Stefan Ratchford has kicked 71 from 87 for a success rate of 81%, while Leigh’s Ben Reynolds 64/80 for 80% and Leeds back-rower Rhyse Martin 64/81 for a 79%.

Four-time Super League winner Amor believes Wigan’s kicking has ‘hindered’ the DW Stadium outfit all season, while ex-Leeds prop Priim believes failed attempts has led to ‘scraped’ wins in their 2023 campaign.

The pair were guests on Betfred’s latest episode of The Last Tackle, joining host Lewis Smith.

“That’s something that’s been hindering Wigan all season.”

Speaking on Wigan’s close win over Hull, Priim said: “I’d hate to put the pressure on a player because I was a prop, I caught, I ran and I got tackled, that was my job.

“Harry Smith, he’s missed 10 points, he missed a few drop-goals, missed one before it went to golden point, two in golden point and finally got it.

“But his kicking has probably led the fact Wigan have scraped wins. It’s unfair to say it is down to him, but at the weekend, he missed a couple of crucial kicks which took it to golden point.”

Amor, who retired earlier this year after a short stint with Widnes, responded: “That’s something that’s been hindering Wigan all season.

“He’s [Smith] put his hand up, he’s the one taking the kicks, have Wigan got a back-up kicker? I don’t know.

“But he’s the one that’s taking that mantle on, yes he doesn’t mean to miss them on purpose, but come the big games, converting those fours into sixes is massive.

“So often you look at big games, usually the first points within them tend to be a penalty. That’s been a concern of not only Harry Smith, but for Wigan for some time now.”

The Warriors have signed Australian Adam Keighran from Catalans from 2024, who currently holds a Super League kicking rate of 79.5%, with 66 conversions from 83 attempts.

EXCLUSIVE: Wigan Warriors hooker Sam Powell attracting interest from rival Super League clubs