Warrington sign scrum-half Matty Smith in surprise move from Catalans Dragons

Matty Smith has joined Warrington
Matty Smith has joined Warrington

Warrington have signed former England scrum-half Matty Smith in a surprise move from Catalans Dragons.

The double-chasing Wolves snapped up the 32-year-old ahead of Friday's transfer deadline to help offset the loss of Australian playmaker Blake Austin with an ankle injury.

Smith has joined Warrington on loan until the end of the season and is set to make his debut in Thursday's clash with Super League leaders St Helens at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Wolves head coach Steve Price said: "Matt is an experienced player. He's a Lance Todd Trophy winner, so he knows all about big games and how to win Challenge Cups and Grand Finals.

"He knows how to steer a team around the park and he'll add extra competition to our halves going into the business end of the season"

Smith, formerly with St Helens, Salford and Wigan, joined the Catalans on a two-year contract at the end of last season but has struggled to hold down a regular spot in Steve McNamara's team.

After starting the first nine matches, Smith has played in just seven of their last 17 and is likely to slip further down the pecking order in 2020 when Australian half-back James Maloney arrives in Perpignan to take up a three-year contract.

Smith said: "Firstly, I would like to thank both Catalans and Warrington for sorting the loan deal out very quickly, which allows me to do what I love doing and that's playing rugby league.

"Also, after speaking with Steve Price and having been a big admirer of the Warrington club for so long, it was a very easy decision for me to come on loan until the end of the year.

"Having worked before with a lot of the staff and playing group, I am sure it will be an easy transition."

The Wolves have been without Kevin Brown all season due to a ruptured Achilles and their half-back shortage worsened on Saturday when Austin, their leading try scorer in his first season at the club, limped off during their controversial defeat to Catalans.

The Wolves have yet to make an announcement on the severity of Austin's injury, but it is clearly a worry.

The club still have salary cap dispensation they received when Brown suffered his season-ending injury.

Smith will not be able to play at Wembley because the Challenge Cup signing deadline passed on July 19.

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