Morgan Smithies has left Wigan Warriors for a significant transfer fee following the conclusion of the 2023 Betfred Super League season to pursue an opportunity in the NRL.
Smithies, who made his debut against Catalans Dragons in Round 8 of the 2019 season, went on to make 114 appearances winning a Grand Final, a Challenge Cup and two League Leaders’ Shields.
The 22-year-old has been with the Club since joining the Wigan Scholarship from amateur club Siddal ARLFC in 2015.
It became clear that his ambitions lay in the NRL, and earlier this year he signed with an Australian agent to look for opportunities, despite a contract extension offer from Wigan.
Chief Executive Kris Radlinski said: “Morgan came to see us a couple of months ago and told us about an opportunity that had arisen in the NRL. After Morgan expressed ultimate commitment and devotion to achieving Grand Final success in 2023, we said we would consider it at the end of the season.
“During that time, we worked diligently on our recruitment process to ensure that we had appropriate cover for his pending departure. Subsequently, we have now agreed to release him.
“We take immense pride in the role that we have played in nurturing Morgan’s development and we wish him nothing but success in his future endeavours.”
Morgan Smithies said: “I can’t thank Wigan enough for what they have done in my Rugby League career to date. Joining Wigan in the Scholarship and coming through to debut for the Club, playing over 100 games for the Club, and now leaving as a Challenge Cup and Super League winner – I couldn’t have asked for more. I now get to move on to the next part of my career and achieve a goal of playing in the NRL.
“I have been able to achieve so much at this Club through the guidance of Matty Peet, Shaun Wane, Adrian Lam and Kris Radlinski. I would not have the opportunity to go and play in the NRL without Wigan, and the support of these men.
“To Adrian for giving me, as a teenager, my debut and my first opportunity. To Matty, who has coached me since I was 15-years old, and played a major role in my development as a Rugby League player, I can’t thank him enough for his support to me on and off the field, and for his understanding and support in assisting with this NRL opportunity. I am glad we were able to finish with a Grand Final and go out on a high together.
“I would also like to thank Kris Radlinski, Ian Lenagan and my agent Liam Ayoub for their efforts behind the scenes in working this out whilst I maintained my sole focus on helping this Club reach the heights we have been able to in 2023.
“And to the Wigan fans, I am glad we brought home the title to Wigan. I will always be a Wigan Warrior and can’t wait to see you all support the boys next year as they attempt to win another World Club Challenge and aim to go back-to-back.”