Wigan Warriors: Morgan Smithies looks ahead to Thursday's game against Catalans Dragons and discusses his development

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Morgan Smithies says Wigan Warriors’ main focus is ensuring that they’ve got a strong defensive platform.

Matty Peet’s side have not conceded in their last two outings, and will be looking to continue that trend against Catalans Dragons at the DW Stadium on Thursday night (K.O. 8pm).

Smithies states the Warriors were brought back to reality in their round one defeat to Hull KR, but believes they have responded in the correct manner since and expects more of the same this week.

“It’s a big test but we will be ready for it,” he said.

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Morgan SmithiesMorgan Smithies
Morgan Smithies

“Catalans are a good team, and have a few individuals who have been at this club and are respected highly.

“I’d say they’re up there with their pack, they’ve always got a big one.

“For us, it’s just about being better than our opposite number and doing a job on them.

“We found some form in the past two games, so hopefully we will take our defence into this one, that comes first.

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“It was good to get nils and hopefully we can keep it up because it’s been massive.

“If you work on that hard then it sets you up good for the rest of the season.

“That first game brought us back down to earth a little bit and made us realise defence is the thing that wins you games.

“No one wants to start the competition with a loss but the most important thing was our reaction- it’s been class.

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“There is still a lot of improvement from the Castleford game, and we’ll take that into Thursday.

“The fans are massive for us and definitely give us a leg-up, it’s always great when they come out.”

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Smithies is happy with the way he is developing as a player, but is keen to continue learning from those around him.

“I’m developing my game, and taking each match as it comes, but I’ve got a long way to go,” he added.

“I know I’ve got things I still need to improve on.

“I’ve got Lockers (Sean O’Loughlin) who was probably the best person in the position in the last decade, so to work alongside him is pretty good.

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“I caught his last few years playing and now he’s transitioned to this coaching role.

“I’m just trying to sponge up as much information as I can off him.

“Listening to someone like that can only benefit me.”

Wigan head coach Matty Peet is also pleased with the way Smithies is progressing and the maturity he is showing.

“I’m Morgan’s biggest fan so you’re probably asking the wrong person,” he said.

“I want us to continue improving him.

“He’s got maturity for his age in the way he applies himself.

“His performances represent the way he’s preparing and commits himself to his game.

“There are a lot of good loose forwards in Super League, and I think Morgan is on his way to being in that bracket.”

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