Wigan Warriors: Matt Peet pays tribute to ‘outstanding’ star ahead of milestone appearance

Drew Darbyshire
Matt Peet and Morgan Smithies Wigan Warriors

Wigan Warriors coach Matt Peet has paid tribute to England international Morgan Smithies who will reach an impressive landmark appearance this weekend.

Despite only being 22 years of age, Smithies will make his 100th appearance for Wigan when they travel to Salford on Sunday afternoon.

Smithies has already achieved so much in his career, having helped the Warriors win the Challenge Cup last year as well as making his international debut for England earlier this season.

“Very young to have played so many games,” Peet said when paying tribute to Smithies ahead of his 100th Wigan appearance.

“The way he plays as well – he is all action, effort and physicality so it is an outstanding credit to his family and his junior club Siddal.

“We just love working with Morgan and I think he’s going to go from strength to strength.

“I thought he was outstanding at the weekend, I personally love working with him.”

A ‘perfect’ opportunity for Wigan Warriors starlet

Last week, Peet confirmed that the Warriors would be without experience hooker Sam Powell for around a month with a shoulder injury that requires surgery.

But with that comes opportunity for youngster Brad O’Neill, who will have the chance to get more minutes under his belt over the next four weeks.

Peet added: “It is perfect for him really, it is great timing.

“He has been champing at the bit, he won the Challenge Cup last year and I think he’s gone to another level now, particularly with his physicality and he is growing in confidence.

“I loved what he was about at the weekend and again, he is someone we can build around.”

The conveyer belt of talent

Peet paid tribute to his side’s homegrown players, with England front-rower Ethan Havard signing a four-year deal after their 14-12 win over Warrington on Sunday.

Peet said: “It was a massive announcement at the weekend that we’ll get Ethan for four more years so that’s the challenge, keeping these players and building around them.

“With the pride and passion at the weekend, I thought Brad O’Neill typified it which I think you get when you get more homegrown players who have come through the system together.

“I know there were times with Waney (Shaun Wane) when we could have put a Wigan 17 out and have been competitive.

“I’m not saying we take it for granted, we love it and we’re very proud but we just get on with it and we’re just building.

“It’s not just about getting the homegrown players in the team, they’ve got to excel, compete and perform so I’m really proud of it, proud of the lads and I do think it gives you an edge when you’ve got that homegrown flair to your team.”

Wigan face Salford at the AJ Bell Stadium on Sunday afternoon, 3pm kick-off.

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