Warriors capture Smith
Wigan Warriors have completed the signing of Salford City Reds scrum-half Matty Smith in time to give him his debut at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats on Sunday.
The Stobart Super League leaders had already lined up the former St Helens half-back on a three-year deal from 2013 as a straight replacement for Thomas Leuluai, who is returning to Auckland at the end of the season.
But Leuluai is out until mid-August at least with a knee injury sustained while playing for the Exiles last month and the Warriors acted to plug the gap now after agreeing a transfer fee with cash-strapped Salford.
Wigan coach Shaun Wane said: “I have been a big admirer of Matty for a while. We are delighted to have secured his services and he is an excellent addition to our squad.
“From my early discussions with him I knew that my coaching team could do things with him. He is very vocal and plays very directly and he will fit into our system with ease.”
Smith will train with his new club tomorrow and, after being named in Wane’s 19-man squad, looks set to face the Wildcats on Sunday, although he will be ineligible for next Saturday’s Challenge Cup semi-final against Leeds Rhinos.
Smith, who turns 25 later this month, has been in the form of his life this year and, after playing for England Knights last month, was promoted to the senior side for last Wednesday’s game against the Exiles.
Out of contract with the Reds, he was given a chance to return to Saints and also had an offer from Widnes Vikings as well as his current club, but opted to join the Warriors.
“This is a fantastic move for me and a wonderful opportunity,” Smith said. “Wigan are a great club with some excellent players and I am looking forward to hopefully playing my part in bringing more success in the months and years to come.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Salford and would like to thank everyone for making my period with the Reds so memorable.”
The arrival of Smith, who holds the record in Super League for most consecutive appearances with 76 games going back to March 2010, will allow skipper Sean O’Loughlin to revert to his normal loose forward role.