Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

Wigan Warriors forward Morgan Smithies has agreed a three-year contract with NRL side Canberra Raiders; the 22-year-old is a Betfred Challenge Cup and Betfred Super League Grand Final winner; he joins Wigan club-mate Kai Pearce-Paul in making the switch to Australia for 2024

Last Updated: 31/10/23 11:12am

Morgan Smithies helped Wigan to Super League Grand Final glory in 2023

Morgan Smithies has moved to NRL side Canberra Raiders on a three-year contract just weeks after helping Wigan Warriors to Betfred Super League Grand Final glory.

The 22-year-old forward, who was under contract with Wigan until 2025, is moving to the Raiders for what the Warriors described as a “significant transfer fee” and joins fellow England international Elliot Whitehead in the Australia capital.

Wigan chief executive Kris Radlinski revealed the club had been aware of Canberra’s interest for some time prior to agreeing to a deal, and wished Smithies all the best for his new opportunity in the NRL.

“Morgan came to see us a couple of months ago and told us about an opportunity that had arisen in the NRL,” Radlinski said.

“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.”

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Highlights of the Super League Grand Final between Wigan Warriors and Catalans Dragons

Highlights of the Super League Grand Final between Wigan Warriors and Catalans Dragons

Smithies joined Wigan’s scholarship system from community club Siddal and made his first-team debut in 2019, going on to make 114 appearances.

He was part of the teams which won the Betfred Challenge Cup last year and this year’s Grand Final but has always held the ambition of going to test himself in the Australian competition as well.

“I can’t thank Wigan enough for what they have done in my rugby league career to date,” Smithies said.

“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.

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.

Morgan Smithies

“I now get to move on to the next part of my career and achieve a goal of playing in the NRL.”

Smithies is the second Wigan player to make the move to the NRL for 2024, with Kai Pearce-Paul moving to Newcastle Knights along with Huddersfield Giants’ Will Pryce.

Raiders NRL recruitment manager Joel Carbone believes the experience Smithies has gained already during the early stages of his career will prove valuable in Australia.

“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.”

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