RYAN Atkins silenced his doubters with an ‘incredible’ defensive effort for Warrington Wolves against Salford Red Devils.
Tony Smith praised the centre’s performance and was particularly impressed with a couple of big hits from Atkins.
Smith was also pleased to see Ben Westwood back in the side after a three-game absence with a suspension.
“(Ben) Harrison and Westwood were fantastic,” said Smith. “Bennie (Westwood) has come back and played 80 minutes after a three-week lay-off and did himself and the team justice by repaying them with a great effort.
“Harrison worked his socks off like he always does and had a really good stint there for us.
“(Micky) Higham had his moments, I thought he did some good things there as well. Matty Russell at the back looked dangerous but Ryan Atkins was incredible in defence.
“He’s had some criticism at different stages from myself and himself and probably a few others defensively, but he was on it today and that hit he put on was as good as any hit you’ve seen in rugby league.
“If that doesn’t make some highlight reels I don’t know what will, I felt it in the stand, it was a ripper!
“We were a bit off, I can’t mention too many others who can honestly say they were close to what they’re capable of, but it wasn’t a lack of effort.”