MATTY Smith has promised fans they will see “fireworks” at Old Trafford on Saturday night... and he doesn’t mean the pre-match pyrotechnics.
Hours after being named in England’s Four Nations squad, the Warriors halfback spoke of the team’s need to improve on recent winning performances in the Grand Final.
And he has no doubts the prize at stake, the occasion – and the opposition – will drive up the quality of their display.
“We haven’t had the perfect season, we’ve stuttered this year, but we’ve put it together at the right time,” he said. “We’ve done well in the last few weeks – but we need to be better than we have been to win this.
“It’s Saints-Wigan, there’s going to be fireworks. But we’ll step it up – and we’ll be ready.”
Smith hails from St Helens and so has a unique understanding of the derby rivalry.
And he is happy to be public enemy No.1 in his hometown if it means he lands another Grand Final winner’s ring.
“Wigan-Saints is massive, isn’t it?” said the 27-year-old.
“I don’t think it’s hatred... but there’s a strong dislike between the two towns!
“And with it being a final it’s all on the line this weekend.”
Smith, meanwhile, has spoke of his delight after getting a call into England’s Four Nations squad – one of seven Wigan players included.
“It’s a massive honour, and hopefully I’ll get to play,” he said. “But right now, there’s a massive game in front of us, and I’m just focusing on this.”
Smith was speaking at the Grand Final media day at Old Trafford. Earlier, Wigan boss Shaun Wane joined Saints counterpart Nathan Brown at a formal press conference, with captains Sean O’Loughlin and Paul Wellens keeping the two head coaches at arm’s length on the top table.
“We’re ready for it,” Wane said. “It’s going to be a full-on rough and tough contest.
“St Helens have hit some real good form, they know how to win games and it will mean as much to them as it does to us. I think it’s going to be a fantastic Grand Final.”
Meanwhile, Wane was hoping to discover today the scan results of Mike McIlorum facial injury, which he sustained in Wigan’s 16-12 semi-final win over Warrington last Friday.
ll Reports elsewhere yesterday suggested Sydney Roosters were among several NRL outfits monitoring Wigan’s teenage wing sensation Joe Burgess.
The 19-year-old is out of contract though the club has an option for 2015.