I HATE being wrong and the only thing worse is having to admit as much.
I’ll come up with as many excuses as possible – often bordering on the outright ridiculous – to try and save face or wriggle out of a dodgy decision.
But there’s no escaping this one. It’s irrefutable. I have to finally admit it – Matty Smith isn’t such a bad player, after all.
No, there I go again, begrudgingly trying to dilute the whole mess.
I’ll rephrase it; Matty Smith is a fine, splendid scrum-half.
Previously, up until Thursday night in fact, I just did not get how people were purporting that the Wigan Warriors No 7 should be England’s half-back for the Four Nations.
I was still trying to get my head around how he had managed to get into Monday’s Super League Dream Team for a second successive season.
That must have been down to mass confusion over the voting system and journos getting their stand-offs and scrum-halves mixed up, half of them thinking Marc Sneyd is a six and the other half reckoning he is a seven, the end result being the Cas Tigers man didn’t get a look-in at either.
The same could be said for Danny Brough. Or Danny McGuire. Or even London Broncos kid Joe Keyes, in my eyes, if it meant an explanation for Smith getting the nod.
Yet, watching as the 27-year-old – seemingly most noted for playing up front in the same Everton youth team as Wayne Rooney if you had not heard – ruthlessly unpicked Huddersfield Giants time and time again the other night, I suddenly had that Eureka moment and clarity finally arrived.
Smith was truly supreme. His half-back partner Blake Green was pretty impressive – just like Wigan in general – but Smith had been brilliant.
Everyone knows about his kicking ability. In fact, that is something which does lend him to international football.
But a previously unheralded running game came to the fore, too, against an outclassed Huddersfield side who were, in fact, fortunate not to lose by a bigger scoreline than the embarrassing 57-4 inflicted on them.
When Smith attacked the line, opponents were left in disarray, wondering if he would pass or go himself; he broke twice at least, once showing real composure to also dummy past perplexed full-back Scott Grix and score and, secondly, streaking clear before putting Joel Tomkins in.
How his former club St Helens must regret ever letting Smith depart.
He won the Lance Todd Trophy for an under-stated man-of-the-match performance in the 2013 Challenge Cup final win over Hull FC and was similarly controlled as Wigan defeated Warrington Wolves in the Grand Final.
I never thought he had the ‘wow’ factor required to bring anything different to England.
But maybe, given Kevin Sinfield’s international retirement, he is just the man to deliver not just order but finesse to Steve McNamara’s creative hub.
One thing is for sure, Wigan boss Shaun Wane does not suffer fools gladly and yesterday morning, hours after that masterclass, his club announced they had re-signed Smith on a four-year deal.
I’m certainly not arguing with Wane. That, to me, says it all.