Why Morgan Smithies is looking forward to playing alongside John Bateman

Morgan Smithies is looking forward to linking-up with one of his early role models this week.

Monday, 25th January 2021, 1:40 pm
Updated Monday, 25th January 2021, 1:44 pm
Morgan Smithies (right) running in Haigh Hall

John Bateman, back in pre-season training, spent five years at Wigan before moving to the NRL for two seasons.

Smithies never played alongside the fellow Yorkshireman and is looking forward to becoming one of his team-mates, admitting he was a huge admirer of his tenacious playing style.

“When I was at Wigan at 14 or 15, he was one of the players I watched and looked up to,” he said.

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“Like me, he’s not the biggest but he’s got that fight in him and that competitiveness and it’s something I’ve tried to bring into my game.

"I’m looking forward to playing alongside him.”

Bateman has been handed the coveted No.13 shirt for this year but admits he would prefer to slot into his old role in the second-row.

If he gets his wish, it would create a vacancy at loose-forward – but Smithies says his focus isn’t yet on nailing down a particular spot.

“I’m not really thinking about that, I just want to get as fit and strong as I can and then it’ up to Lammy who he wants to play there,” said the 20-year-old, who made his debut in 2019.

“Of course I’d like to do it but I’m sure there’ll be quite a few lads who’d say the same, and it’s good to have that competition, it’s good for Lammy to have those options.”