Wigan Warriors legend backs youngster to 'lead the team'

Harry Smith is the perfect man to take on the baton from Jackson Hastings and lead the new exciting era at Wigan Warriors.
Harry SmithHarry Smith
Harry Smith

And that’s the view of someone who knows what he’s talking about– legendary former Wigan and Great Britain half-back Andy Gregory.

But Gregory says there’ll also be a big onus on the Wigan pack to step up their efforts – and give Smith the room to work his magic.

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“I’ve seen a lot of Harry and I think he’s more than capable of stepping up and leading this team,” Gregory said.

“But I know more than anyone about playing scrum half, and if you’re a playmaker, you’re only as good as the pack in front of you.

“Now matter how good you are, you’re going to be knackered without a pack in front of you going forward.

“If Harry’s not got a pack going forward, they might as well have me on the pitch – and I’ve just turned 60!

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“When you’re a half-back, and your pack’s going backwards, you’re knackered. Simple as.

“I just hope the forwards in front of him give him the platform to show what he can do.

“When I played, I had Brian Case, Shaun Wane, Ian Potter...we used to call them the ‘pigs’.

“People used to ask why we called them that, and it was because they used to get us out of the mucky stuff, and leave it to the half-backs.”

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Gregory has seen enough of the 21-year-old former Academy international to believe he has all the tools to follow in the footsteps of some great Wigan halves over the years.

“I think Harry’s definitely got the skills to make it as a top-class half-back in Super League,” he added.

“He’s got good vision, he reads the game well, and he tries to organise the team – even though he’s only a young lad.

"But he can’t do it on his own, and he needs the forwards to make the hard yards to give him the space to play rugby.

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“If he has that ammunition in front of him, he can set up that back line, and hopefully we can cause a lot of damage.”

Gregory is desperate to see Wigan back firing next season after a frustrating period since Shaun Wane left in 2018.

“We need a strong Wigan team,” he added. “And not just Wigan, but the game of rugby league itself.”

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