Wigan Warriors: Morgan Smithies discusses how being the club's new number 13 will help him to get out of his comfort zone

Morgan Smithies says he is determined to step up after being named Wigan Warriors’ new number 13.

The 22-year-old takes over the jersey ahead of the 2023 season, following the departure of John Bateman.

Smithies states he was surprised when he found out which number he would be wearing, but now hopes he can use it as an incentive to get out of his comfort zone.

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“I was buzzing when I found out,” he said.

Morgan Smithies

“I really wasn’t expecting it, even with Batty (John Bateman) leaving.

“I thought they might give it to Faz (Liam Farrell) and keep it in the Wigan tradition, so I was absolutely buzzing and made up to get that number.

“It was definitely a nice gesture from the club, and Matty (Peet) and Rads (Kris Radlinski).

“I was very surprised, but now it’s just time for me to step up, because with that number standards get higher, so I’m looking to perform even better week in, week out.

“That pressure brings the best out of people, and it will bring the best out of me.

“There’s only been a few previous number 13s, so I probably know them all off the top of my head.

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“Lockers (Sean O’Loughlin) had it for a long time, then Batty, and now it’s me, so it’s now my time to leave my mark on the number.

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“In the past few years I’ve gone about my business quite quietly, but now it’s time for me to be a bit more of a leader off the field.

“On the field I’m always leading by my actions, but now I need to speak up in meetings and in the changing rooms a bit more.

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“I like keeping my head down, working hard, keeping myself to myself, but it’s about coming out of my comfort zone now and finding my voice.”

Wigan’s first outing of 2023 comes this weekend, as a squad made up of young players make the trip to the Recreation Ground to take on Whitehaven (K.O. 3pm).

This is followed by another trip to Cumbria to face Barrow Raiders on January 29, before Sam Powell’s testimonial game against Salford Red Devils at the DW Stadium on February 5.