‘Relieved’ Harry Smith now focussing on creating World Club Challenge history

Harry Smith is hoping to create history with Wigan Warriors after being cleared to play in the World Club Challenge against Penrith Panthers.
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The 24-year-old star half-back escaped a suspension for his tip tackle on Castleford Tigers full-back Luke Hooley during Super League round one, but was fined £250 for a Grade B charge from the match review panel.

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“I’m definitely relieved,” Smith said.

Harry Smith looks ahead to the World Club Challenge against Penrith PanthersHarry Smith looks ahead to the World Club Challenge against Penrith Panthers
Harry Smith looks ahead to the World Club Challenge against Penrith Panthers

“Everyone has different views, but I didn’t go in to maliciously hurt him [Hooley] or anything like that. It was just the way the tackle fell. But now I can concentrate on playing Penrith.”

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The England international will go head-to-head with NRL superstar and Australia international Nathan Cleary, who led Penrith to their third successive title last year with a mighty comeback against Brisbane Broncos in the Grand Final.

“I’m looking forward to playing against Nathan Cleary and to see how I stand up against him and the best team in the world,” Smith admits.

“That’s why I play the game, to play against the best players and to challenge yourself.

“It’s a massive challenge for me and the whole team, but people could highlight Nathan and I as key positions. I’m really looking forward to taking it head on.”

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Ivan Cleary’s outfit landed in Manchester on Saturday and were guests at Etihad Stadium as Pep Guardiola’s Man City faced Chelsea in the Premier League.

The NRL champions were given access to the £200m training facilities at City campus on Monday, before facing Sam Burgess’ Warrington Wolves for an opposed training session on Tuesday.

Penrith Panthers are 0-3 in the World Club Challenge while Smith is eyeing up creating history with the Warriors, who look for their record-equalling fifth title.

“It’s up there for playing for England,” the Wigan No.7 continued.

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“On a personal level and on a club level, this is a big game for me.

“There are players that still get talked about from Wigan from previous World Club Challenges. It’s one I want to be on the right side of.

“We’re trying to create our own history and do our bit for the town and for the team.”