This morning Wigan Warriors confirmed that Morgan Smithies had left the club after they received a “significant fee” for his services from the NRL.
Now his new destination has been confirmed with the Warriors loose-forward following in the footsteps of former teammates George Williams and John Bateman by joining the Canberra Raiders.
Smithies, 22, has played 114 matches for the Wigan Warriors since making his debut in 2019, including 105 Super League matches and 9 appearances in the Challenge Cup. He also represented England for the first time this season in their mid-season test match against France.
He finished off a wonderful personal season this year with victory for Wigan in the Super League Grand Final against the Catalans Dragons.
A talented young forward, Smithies plays predominantly as a lock, but can play on an edge. He follows the footsteps of several English players who have successfully made the transition into the NRL at the Raiders.
Raiders NRL Recruitment Manager Joel Carbone said Smithies is a young player who comes to the club with experience in big games and will be a valuable addition to the Raiders squad.
“Morgan has already achieved a lot of success in his short career, and we’re very excited about him joining the club over the next three seasons,” Carbone said. “He’s come from a very strong, successful system, which will put him in good stead in his transition into the NRL.
“We expect him to add substantial value to our team and complement our young core moving forward. While he’s only a young man himself, he has already played over 100 first-team games, including Super League & Challenge Cup finals, and will come over a Super League champion after their grand final win only a few weeks ago.”
It is a big moment for the England international but you have to praise Wigan for the way they have dealt with his departure and the signings made to offset it.
They have signed Luke Thompson and Sam Eseh in recent weeks to reinforce an already impressive pack as they look to defend their crown in 2024 after Smithies was key to winning the Grand Final in 2023.