Smith delighted as Russell becomes Warrington wing wonder

Warrington coach Tony Smith felt that Scotland international Matty Russell was the stand-out performer in his team’s weekend win over Hull KR.

Russell, more accustomed to playing full-back, featured on the wing, with Stefan Ratchford taking on the full-back role on Sunday.

Smith felt that the Irvine-born Scot was a revelation in how he played.

“Matty Russell was unreal on the wing, he looked very much at home,” he said.

“He was outstanding. Matty’s been keen to get on the wing, and he showed us why out there. He looked right at home.

“I thought he was a stand-out on the park, not just for us but overall.

“He’s got a big part to play for us.”

While Smith acknowledged that his team’s display had been far from perfect, he did take positives from the performances of several players.

He was especially pleased with the youngsters who had been drafted in to cover for absences caused by illness and injury.

Stefan Ratchford was solid for us at the back, and Kevin Penny is playing his part on the other wing,” he added.

Ben Currie had to shift out to left centre and did really well. Joe Philbin filled in at lefgt seconf row and did a really good job, and George King got a late call-up.

“So it was really good exprience for all those young players coming through.”

Although the Wolves emerged victorious from the contest, Smith admitted that there was plenty for his squad to work on ahead of this week’s visit of Leeds Rhinos to the Halliwell Jones.

“It wasn’t pretty,” he said.

“The performance could improve, and it needs to improve in some areas.

“At the same time, the willingness to get out there and get the job done is pleasing.

“So I’m pleased for the players to have grafted their way to that in the end.

“They were up against a very spirited team.

“I thought we were the more dangerous of the two teams, and the more deserving over the whole course of the game, but things can go wrong sometimes.

“Passages of play can go against you and accidents can happen.

“It wasn’t one of our more convincing performances where we monopolised the play.

“They had their sahre and their say in the possible outcome, and we had to hang on at different stages, and fortunately we did.”

As for which areas require improvement, Smith was unequivocal.

“Our kicking game needs to improve, and some aspects of our defence,” he said.

“It was not up the standard. We conceded 24 points and we don’t want to be conceding that many points.

“We’re up against an incredibly good attacking team this coming week, so we’ll have to do some extra work.

“We’ll patch ourselves up and go and have a look at what we’ve done well, and what we need to fix up even further.

“It’s been a long, tough couple of weeks and it’s good to be back going in the right direction.”

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