Smith plotting future success after signing for the Warriors


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The Independent Online

Wigan yesterday completed the signing of the Salford scrum-half Matty Smith in time to give him his debut at Wakefieldtomorrow.

The Stobart Super League leaders had already lined up the former St Helens half-back on a three-year deal from 2013 as a replacement for Thomas Leuluai, who is returning to Auckland at the end of the season.

But Leuluai is out until at least the middle of next month with a knee injury sustained while playing for the Exiles last month and the Warriors acted to plug the gap now after agreeing a transfer fee with cash-strapped Salford.

Wigan's coach, Shaun Wane, said: "I have been a big admirer of Matty for a while. We are delighted to have secured his services and he is an excellent addition to our squad.

"From my early discussions with him I knew that my coaching team could do things with him. He is very vocal and plays very directly and he will fit into our system with ease."

Smith, after being named in Wane's 19-man squad, looks set to face the Wildcats, although he will be ineligible for next Saturday's Challenge Cup semi-final against Leeds.

Smith, who turns 25 later this month, has been in the form of his life this year and, after playing for England Knights last month, was promoted to the senior side for last Wednesday's game against the Exiles.

Out of contract with the Reds, he was given a chance to return to Saints and also had an offer from Widnes as well as his current club, but opted to join the Warriors.

"This is a fantastic move for me and a wonderful opportunity," Smith said. "Wigan are a great club with some excellent players and I am looking forward to, hopefully, playing my part in bringing more success in the months and years to come.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Salford and would like to thank everyone for making my period with the Reds so memorable."

Meanwhile, the Hull KR captain, Ben Galea, will leave the club at the end of the season. The 33-year-old Australian, who joined from Wests Tigers in 2008, was keen to extend his stay at Craven Park but his contract runs out at the end of the season and he has failed to reach agreement on a new deal.

"I am extremely disappointed that the club and I have not been able to reach an agreement for the 2013 season," he said. "I still feel a huge desire to play rugby league now and beyond the 2012 season."