Wigan Warriors: Morgan Smithies says he is excited for Friday's Challenge Cup game as he shares his memories of his school rugby success
Morgan Smithies says the Wigan Warriors squad are “pumped” to get their Challenge Cup campaign underway.
Matty Peet’s side welcome Salford Red Devils to the DW Stadium on Friday night (K.O. 7.35pm)
Smithies hopes the team can put a good run together in the competition, but states they are focusing on one game at a time.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to it, the lads are buzzing for it. I’ve not won it before so it’s something I want to do, but we are taking it round by round. If we lose then we’re out.
“As a club we’ve not won the Challenge Cup since 2013, so to get back down there would be special and we have to focus on it. We are pumped for it.
"We’ve not had a bad start to the season. We took a loss against Catalans (Dragons), but I thought we bounced back well from that. It wasn’t our best game against Cas (Castleford) but we made improvements, and we will try and do that again.
“Looking at Salford’s last game, they had an emphasis on running hard, so as a middle unit we are all up for it. We are not looking further ahead, to beat them we will have to be on our game.”
Smithies has fond memories of the Challenge Cup growing up, due to the success he enjoyed in the rugby team for Brooksbank School.
“My memories of the Challenge Cup come from my time at High School,” he added.
“Our team was quite successful so we used to play in the National Cup Final down there and make a weekend of it. We had Riley Dean and Amir Bourouh, so it was a pretty good team.
“I have good memories, we’d play the day before and then go and watch the final. When you’re in school you’re a pretty big fan so it was good. We went two or three times.
“We had the chance in year seven to play on the Wembley pitch, but got knocked out in the quarters so we didn’t quite make that one.”
Smithies states he wants to take different areas of his game to a new level throughout this season.
“I’m happyish with the way I am going so far this year,” he explained.
“I’ve still got a load of improvement and I’m still learning. I’ve been working closely with Locker (Sean O’Loughlin), Briersy (Lee Briers) and Matty (Peet) so there is lots of progress I can make this season.
“Lockers and Briersy have been there and won it all in the game, and I’ve worked with Matty since I was 14 years of age, since I came to Wigan, so I have been working well with the coaching staff.
“I think I’m making little improvements, week in week out, but I just take it game by game to do that. My attacking game and my defence could go to another level, it’s just the little details and then the bigger picture will take care of itself.”