JOE Philbin made his Warrington Wolves debut at Hull KR on Friday night leading Tony Smith to share his pride in the club’s home-grown talent.
The second-rower was in good company, with Academy graduates Rhys and Ben Evans, Ben Currie, Ben Harrison, Brad Dwyer, Gene Ormsby and Glenn Riley also in the squad.
With home-grown George King and Anthony England also named in Smith’s 19-man squad earlier in the week, the boss is delighted Wolves are growing their own Super League stars.
“Fantastic, loved it, loved watching him,” he said, after handing Philbin his debut late in the first half at the KC LIghtstream Stadium.
“I think we had two overseas players there, a couple of weeks ago I talked about one, but we had two in the squad and some terrific young guys coming through.
“It’s really exciting, I said recently when I signed a contract extension about the future and I’m really excited about it.
“When you see young Joe, our players were excited about it, excited about him making his debut.”
Prop King, whose twin Toby is also in the Wolves Academy, missed out on the 17, while several of the under 19s impressed in a 22-12 win over their Hull KR counterparts in a curtain-raiser to the Super League fixture.
“Young George King isn’t far off and young Tom Walker was a stand out in a really tough, gritty win for the under 19s here,” added Smith.
“We’ve got some really exciting kids and I love watching the way they’re going about their business and learning to become professionals – I think we had eight or nine home grown kids there, I’m delighted about that as well.
“It’s probably something Warrington haven’t been known for for many a year and now we’re developing our own kids and we’re proud about it.”