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Last Son of Wigan Bronze RLFANS Member
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100% Warrior wrote:
I think Smithies possesses some of the skills of a 13. Great in attack, has shown good link up play glimpses, good D and fitness wise he could go the full 80. 2020 is a make or break season for him in the LF sense - as it is for anyone else trying to stake a claim for the shirt. I do however think it’ll probably go to Faz which isn’t a wrong or bad move IMHO.

I agree with Owen Farrell being a league 13 but I just don’t see him coming back. England captain, earning 000’s more than he’ll ever earn in league. I can’t see it happening.


Great in attack? Never seen it. His go-forward isn't there. Never seen anything which would suggest he has the passing vision, rugby brain and skillset to link the play with passing etc from the centre of attack.

He does however have a great engine; great in defence (don't think anyone would argue with that) and 'put himself about'. I've said it before but he's far more a Harrison Hansen than a Lockers or even Liam Faz. I just don't see him suited to the role even if you go down the 3rd prop route.

We've been blessed with great 13s from Hanley (even Phil Clarke) Andy Faz and now Lockers. Maybe half the reason Lockers is still our 13 at 37/38 is the fact that the successor isn't there. Unless you're looking at playing a 3rd prop, it's clear to me it's time to get the shopping list ready.
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Last Son of Wigan wrote:
Don't put square pegs in round holes. Either recruit someone in the 'ball playing mould' or play a prop there and go with 3 props.

Smithies doesn't have either qualities. He's not a ball player and doesn't have the go forward of a prop.


Agree on the square pegs into round holes &, FWIW, I wasn't suggesting or advocating for Smithies either.

I was more pointing out that this isn't a sit on it and see what happens kinda situation. Realistically if Lam has any ideas on internal guys then he's only got a short window to see how it goes.
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100% Warrior wrote:
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Last Son of Wigan wrote:
Great in attack? Never seen it. His go-forward isn't there. Never seen anything which would suggest he has the passing vision, rugby brain and skillset to link the play with passing etc from the centre of attack.

He does however have a great engine; great in defence (don't think anyone would argue with that) and 'put himself about'. I've said it before but he's far more a Harrison Hansen than a Lockers or even Liam Faz. I just don't see him suited to the role even if you go down the 3rd prop route.

We've been blessed with great 13s from Hanley (even Phil Clarke) Andy Faz and now Lockers. Maybe half the reason Lockers is still our 13 at 37/38 is the fact that the successor isn't there. Unless you're looking at playing a 3rd prop, it's clear to me it's time to get the shopping list ready.


I think he is great in attack personally but each to their own.

The rest of your post though I agree with (other than the role suitability sentence). Recruiting a 13 is an option but I think it’s likely to go to Faz. He does have the hands, line running, engine and defensive capabilities for the role and it also resolves the ‘left sided second rower’ problem with Greenwood and Smithies (providing the former is still at the club) completing the back row.

Another option could be Bullock, considering Flower and Clubb just won’t be 13 and rightly so. Though I haven’t seen enough of Bullock to really say if he could be a 13 and if we do go the 3rd prop route like clubs seem to be doing, it would on the face off it fit into that mould and make sense.
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100% Warrior wrote:
I think he is great in attack personally but each to their own..


I'm not arguing with you here, but what makes him great in attack? I like the kid, but if i have to think about highlights from last year the majority of them are defensive. I personally can't think of too many times he carved up the opposition, made a few breaks or slipped a few offloads etc.

Not aimed at you, but I'm massively conscious of extreme our fans seem to be. Everyone is either great (Marshall) or dog turd (Burgess) etc.

I'd be comfortable saying Smithies was great in defence and finding his feet in attack.
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100% Warrior wrote:
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sergeant pepper wrote:
I'm not arguing with you here, but what makes him great in attack? I like the kid, but if i have to think about highlights from last year the majority of them are defensive. I personally can't think of too many times he carved up the opposition, made a few breaks or slipped a few offloads etc.

Not aimed at you, but I'm massively conscious of extreme our fans seem to be. Everyone is either great (Marshall) or dog turd (Burgess) etc.

I'd be comfortable saying Smithies was great in defence and finding his feet in attack.


No I know and you make a fair point, his highlights are in defence I agree but I stand by my ‘great in attack’ statement purely based on the stats;

- 21 appearances
- 1 try
- 1227mtrs from 213 carries (5.76mtrs per carry and 10 per game)
- 23 tackle busts
- 2 clean breaks
- 4 errors

Now for me, for an 18yr old kid in his debut and breakthrough season, they are very good stats. Put them into context v Faz/Lockers and admittedly they aren’t as impressive but as I said in the context of him being 18yrs old and only just made his debut this season, they are very promising.

It’s also worth noting that his natural position is 13 and he played there for academy too.

Is he ready made and ready to replace Lockers? Absolutely not.
Can he develop into that role? Absolutely
Will he ever be as good as Lockers at 13? He has the potential but his style of play is different to Lockers’.

FWIW I agree entirely with fan extremism point.
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sergeant pepper wrote:
Agree on the square pegs into round holes &, FWIW, I wasn't suggesting or advocating for Smithies either.

I was more pointing out that this isn't a sit on it and see what happens kinda situation. Realistically if Lam has any ideas on internal guys then he's only got a short window to see how it goes.


I agree with you there. I just can't see a suitable replacement for Lockers unless we go for 3 props.
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100% Warrior wrote:
No I know and you make a fair point, his highlights are in defence I agree but I stand by my ‘great in attack’ statement purely based on the stats;

- 21 appearances
- 1 try
- 1227mtrs from 213 carries (5.76mtrs per carry and 10 per game)
- 23 tackle busts
- 2 clean breaks
- 4 errors

Now for me, for an 18yr old kid in his debut and breakthrough season, they are very good stats. Put them into context v Faz/Lockers and admittedly they aren’t as impressive but as I said in the context of him being 18yrs old and only just made his debut this season, they are very promising.

It’s also worth noting that his natural position is 13 and he played there for academy too.

Is he ready made and ready to replace Lockers? Absolutely not.
Can he develop into that role? Absolutely
Will he ever be as good as Lockers at 13? He has the potential but his style of play is different to Lockers’.

FWIW I agree entirely with fan extremism point.

You do makes some good points here mate. I guess time will tell. And I do like Smithies, I like his aggressive attitude, his will to win and his amazing work ethic; all traits I want to see in a player. He's a young player who gets it. He's been given an opportunity and isn't going to waste it-that to be speaks volumes.

Maybe this season will provide more information on if he's really cut out to be a 13 or not.

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Smithies is very solid in every aspect apart from his attack, I don’t like.to be to critical considering he’s only 18 but ultimately 5.76m per carry isn’t good enough for a forward and especially considering his passing game is very limited form what I’ve seen so far? 7m per carry is a minimum for a forward imo, Lockers go forward isn’t much better but his link play and vision more than makes up for it. Smithies needs to increase his leg drive and probably add more muscle mass upstairs, very much the same with Partington as well.

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Incredibly tough to judge just what Smithies can and can’t do just yet in a first team jersey. The lad was an 18 year old kid when he was asked to train with the first team. He hadn’t had a pre season with the first team and he was thrown in the deep end playing in the middle of the field against men. I thought he was pretty incredible in both attack and defence in all honesty. I’m sure as he develops he’ll show more facets to his game and open up with the ball a little more. He’ll never be an O’Loughlin style ball player but O’Loughlin at 18 wouldn’t have been the O’Loughlin that was one of the world best players a few seasons back.

I wouldn’t worry about his average metres per carry either. That will improve as he develops anyway but he’s got an attitude and an engine money can’t buy. One of superleagues best ever players in Jamie Peacock had that attitude and engine and his metres per carry was pretty low also. His strength was that he was available for tough carries in both the first minute and the last. This kid isn’t a prop but he has that sort of attitude about him. I’d personally protect him and play him wider to start this season but long term the kid will make a fine loose forward IMO.

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100% Warrior wrote:
No it doesn’t you’re right but positional/tactical changes at pro level do tend to trickle down into amateur and thus young players coming through will, eventually, learn to play in that style. The days of an inch perfect 15mtr cut out pass from a LF are almost extinct, it’s sad but most forwards these days can provide that halves link.

This. I'm involved at amateur level and see loads of different teams at all the age groups. The loose forwards now are bigger than they were 10-15 years ago and don't tend to be ball players. I very rarely see lads who play Halfback/Loose Forward, which was common when I first got involved in the mid 00s. Now they are far more commonly lads whose secondary position would be prop or second row.
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