Smith determined to make his mark

Matty Smith after scoring a try against Salford
Matty Smith after scoring a try against Salford

MATTY Smith admits he has been “narked” by critics questioning Wigan’s chances following a change to their half-backs.

Warriors lost both stand-off Brett Finch and scrum-half Thomas Leuluai in a major squad upheaval during the off-season.

Smith joined Wigan from Salford towards the end of last term, with Hull KR’s Blake Green making up the new-look combination.

And Smith says the duo will not be lacking in motivation as they aim to prove there is life after Finch and Leuluai.

“It narks me a bit because I’ve come into the position where people are saying we can’t fill it,” he said.

“Tommy and Finchy were fantastic players – Tommy’s a World Cup winner with New Zealand – and I’m not going to replace him over night.

“I was in and out last year, then Tommy came back from injury – and rightly so, because he was the starting No.7.

“But now I have that No.7, and it’s up to me to get this team around and I’m looking forward to that.

“I’m a different player to Tommy, but I’m going to give it a go and try and do my best and hopefully that’ll be enough.”

There is added pressure on Smith and Green to hit the ground running at the DW, with Wigan having missed out on both the Super League title and the Challenge Cup last term.

Shaun Wane’s men had only the League Leaders Shield to show for their efforts, but Smith says they have it in them to do even better this year.

“This team is fantastic, I can’t see why we won’t be successful,” he added.

“We all want to play for each other and win trophies.

“We’ve lost some great players but we’ve got some great players coming in.

“Harrison (Hansen) is a massive loss, and Gaz (Hock) has gone to Widnes.

“But when you have people like Liam Farrell – an England international – and Jack Hughes to come in and play in the back-row like they did against Salford, it’s fantastic.

“People can write us off all they want but we’re going to be there at the end of the year, no doubt about that.

Smith would have particularly have enjoyed Wigan’s opening-day romp at his former club Salford, but he acknowledges they will have to improve to give Warrington a game tonight.

“I like being the underdog – there’s not as much pressure then,” he revealed.

“Everyone is talking about how good Warrington are going to be and written us off a little bit.

“And that suits us. We’ll just hopefully keep going and keep winning.

“I thought we were good against Salford.

“We were a little bit off with our attack, but that will come and we go into the game confident.”