Wigan Warriors’ Matty Smith nearly clinched a famous victory against Warrington Wolves on Friday night despite acquiring a nasty forehead cut midway through the first half.
Regardless of receiving seven stitches at half-time, Smith’s presence never failed to put pressure on the visitors.
His 73rd-minute drop goal put his side agonisingly close to defeating Warrington at home for the first time since 2009.
Smith said: “I looked at the clock and we had good field position with seven minutes to go.
“I thought it was the right time to put one over and put a bit of pressure on Warrington.”
The Wolves were able to land a drop goal of their own to take the score to 17-all in the dying moments of what became a nail biting battle between the two old foes.
Smith added: “We let them get a good position and they got the one to draw it.
“Sometimes it happens and it’s frustrating because we thought we could’ve won that game but it just slipped away from us at the end.”
Wigan’s strength going into the season has been questioned with the loss of some key players and many expected Warrington to dominate.
“We can take a lot of positives from that because Warrington are a great side,” said the young half back.
His confident display was all the more impressive considering the two-and-a-half inch cut he sustained from an elbow to the forehead.
Wigan coach, Shaun Wane, said of Smith’s injury: “He looks a bit of a mess in the dressing room but he’ll be posing after.
“He’s a tough kid and that’s why I signed him – I like him.”
He added: “He gets belted when he has passed which happened a few times today but that’s the sort of half I want.”
It did not faze the number seven even though the gash reopened and had to be stitched up again after the game.
“It’s frustrating when you just want to carry on and play but I suppose it’s health and safety for the other players,” Smith said.
Wigan face Huddersfield next week who produced a shock demolition of St Helens at Langtree Park in their opening game.
“They can attack so our defence has got to be on again like it was tonight and like it was against Salford,” said Smith.
Overall, Smith was pleased with Wigan’s performance.
He said: “We let ourselves down by giving a few penalties away – daft penalties which meant we gave a lot of field position away as well.
“A draw is a draw but we’ll take a lot of positives and move on to next week.”
Image courtesy of Super League TV, with thanks.