Wigan Warriors have confirmed the departure of Morgan Smithies ahead of the 2024 Super League season, a disappointing moment for the club but the executives like Kris Radlinski as well as the fans are happy for their young star as he goes and tests himself in the NRL.
The move has come after the Canberra Raiders paid a significant fee for his arrival believed to be six figures.
This came after he signed with an Australian agent before coming to the club expressing his desire to move to the NRL.
However, the departure opens the door for someone else to take on the number 13 shirt in 2024. Many of their fans believe it will be son of Wigan legend and former holder of the famous number 13 shirt Andy Farrell.
This is of course Owen Farrell. The Wigan born Rugby Union star just concluded his latest shot at World Cup glory and was excellent for England.
But the rumours have been circling for a long time and fans believe that this exit will pave the way for Farrell to join the club.
After the news, at least five Wigan fans shared GIFs of Farrell and one fan simply said, “OF13 2024,” standing for Owen Farrell 13.
Meanwhile, one fan shared a picture of a young Owen alongside Andy Farrell saying, “He’s going to smash it, as will his replacement,” referencing both Smithies and Farrell.
Another fan joked: “You’re telling me the number 13 shirt is free…”
Whilst another hinted at Farrell as they said: “The club will receive a significant fee and a renowned player will join the ranks.”
This narrative continued across social media with another fan saying: “Wigan being sad that Smithies is leaving yet knowing they’ve got the Owen Farrell signing up their sleeve.”
Another fan said: “Owen Farrell to sign two year monster deal.”
What Chief Executive Radlinski had said about Smithies helped spark this fanfare: “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.”
However, this is more likely to be in reference to Luke Thompson who many feel will take on the number 13 shirt in 2024 after arriving at the club from the Canterbury Bulldogs.