Wigan Warriors’ Matty Smith will confront family rivalry when he faces his hometown club in Good Friday’s derby against St Helens at the DW Stadium.
Wigan have not lost to in-form St Helens in the traditional Easter fixture since a 19-12 defeat in 2009 and can move two points clear of the Saints with a win.
For Smith, it will be his first taste of the derby since appearing for St Helens in the 2010 Grand Final, which Wigan won 22-10, and he admitted not all his loved ones will be cheering him on.
“It’s going to be weird on Friday, a St Helens lad playing for Wigan in a derby but it is a big occasion and hopefully we can do well and get the two points,” said the half back.
“My girlfriend’s mum and dad will be in their Saints tops in the away stand. There’s a bit of rivalry but it’s all fun.
“My mum and dad are from St Helens but support me wherever I’m playing. They grew-up watching Saints.”
Smith is also subject to banter from his old team mates who he still sees regularly.
He said: “We probably don’t speak much on game day. I’ve spoken to a few of them this week and they’re looking forward to it as much as we are.”
Warriors boss Shaun Wane is confident his players have shown the right attitude in training ahead of Friday’s clash but warned they will need to carry it onto the pitch.
“Rugby League is a desire game – it’s who wants it the most,” he said.
“But I don’t need to motivate the players. They understand there’s a different feel about the club and the way we train when we play Saints. There is no way I need to get the players to concentrate in training.”
Image courtesy of Salford City Reds, via Vimeo, with thanks.