Morgan Smithies celebrated his 100th Super League appearance in the win over Salford, with head coach Matt Peet deeming him as one of the best loose forwards currently in the competition.
Smithies, only 22, hit the milestone during the Round 24 26-8 win over the Red Devils at the DW Stadium.
He has missed just one game all campaign and his early form was rewarded with his first England senior call up for the mid-season international clash with France at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, resulting in a 64-0 win for Shaun Wane’s side.
The Wigan academy graduate made his debut at the age of just 18 in the 42-0 home win over Catalans Dragons in March 2019, having also represented England at youth level.
Smithies has impressed since hitting the Super League scene, nominated for the competition’s young player of the year award during his debut campaign and later representing England Knights.
A hugely talented loose forward, Smithies also broke the record for the number of tackles made by a single player in the Super League era with a remarkable 72 against Salford during the 2019 play-offs.
Speaking following Friday’s win, lifting the side to the top of the table, Peet was delighted for the highly-rated youngster, who is contracted until the end of 2025.
“I thought he was fantastic,” Peet said. “He played his 100th Wigan game when we last played Salford, too.
“It was actually a good opportunity to get him off and freshen up a little bit in the second half and Joe [Shorrocks] did a good job from the bench.
“The way Morgan toils in there and does a lot of thankless work, we took that opportunity to look after his body.
“He’s doing a great job for us and I think he’s up there with the best loose forwards in the competition along with the Saints lads and I like Ben Garcia.
“I love working with him.”