Drew’s views: Warrington have got a gem on their hands

Drew Darbyshire

I knew Matty Ashton was good – but I didn’t know he was this good.

The 21-year-old ripped the Championship to pieces last season as he scored 30 tries in 25 appearances for Swinton.

I was lucky enough to watch Ashton a number of times in the flesh last year and he is an incredibly exciting player to watch and his pace is just electric. It’s not difficult to see why Warrington coach Steve Price compares him to a Ferrari.

Over the off-season, Ashton made the transition of working on a zero-hour contract at a gym and playing part-time rugby to being a full-time professional when he moved to the Wolves.

And on Thursday, Ashton made his Super League debut in Warrington’s 16-10 defeat at Wigan. The speedster was a standout for the Wolves and you couldn’t tell he was playing his first ever match in the top-flight.

Ashton has not had the usual route of making it to the top. He had a year with Salford’s scholarship during his teenage years but was released by the Red Devils, which he admitted knocked his confidence at the time.

He then went travelling over to Australia for a year, where he continued to play rugby – more for the love of the game than anything else.

Ashton came back and went on trial with Championship side Swinton in pre-season. He started a couple of games for the Lions, got dropped and then came back in to Stuart Littler’s side, where he then caught the eye of a number of Super League clubs.

The full-back chose to sign for Warrington after having several offers on the table from Super League and the Championship.

Ashton has put quite a lot of size on in pre-season while maintaining his ferocious pace. He needed to be bigger than what he was last year and he is.

He probably didn’t expect to be making his Warrington debut so early during his time there – but he didn’t disappoint. He looked safe under the high ball, made a number of one-on-one tackles and looked electrifying with the ball in hand, as well as doing plenty of talking.

A star was born on Thursday night. The sky is the limit for Ashton.

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