Last night Wigan Warriors confirmed their 2023 squad numbers following the departure of John Bateman to the NRL.
This left the historic number 13 shirt vacant. The shirt is one of the most famous in rugby league having been worn by Ellery Hanley, Andy Farrell and of course Sean O’Loughlin.
Now though it goes to Morgan Smithies who after a number of impressive years with the Warriors has finally made the leap to the number 13 shirt which is no doubt a huge honour.
It clearly means a lot to him as he took to Twitter to say:
“Big thanks for all the messages I’ve received for getting the 13 shirt! Can’t put it into words how much it means to me and my family, as it’s been a goal of mine ever since signing at Wigan in the scholarship. I know what comes with the shirt with the legends who’ve been before me, and you’ll get nothing but effort, pride & passion from me.
“See you all in 2023.”
There are 29 first team players for next year, with Liam Marshall (5), Cade Cust (6), Brad Singleton (8), Sam Powell (9), Willie Isa (11), Liam Farrell (12) and Kaide Ellis (15) all retaining their respective numbers from last season.
New signings Toby King (3) and Jake Wardle (4) have been given their squad numbers.
Following an impressive 2022 in the fullback position, Jai Field will wear the number 1 shirt, with Bevan French – equally as formidable on the wing – taking the number 2 shirt.
After an impressive season where he was awarded the Warriors’ Young Player of the Season, Harry Smith moves up to the number 7 shirt – last-worn by the recently retired Thomas Leuluai.