TONY Smith’s raid on the NRL this week was boosted by the announcement Chris Hill will remain in Super League with Warrington Wolves.
Ashton Sims joins from North Queensland Cowboys for 2015, while Hill penned a new five-and-a-half year deal at The Halliwell Jones Stadium.
The 26-year-old signed an extension in October, but following NRL interest owner Simon Moran has rewarded the prop with an improved contract.
“The World Cup opened some other people’s eyes to just how good Chris is,” said Smith.
“We wanted to increase his salary in accordance with his performance. That’s one of the things about Simon, he rewards effort and performances.
“But that commitment needed to be for the full period rather than one of those deals where we’re upgrading and the player changes his mind after two or three years.”
Hill added: “There was a bit of temptation from the NRL. It was a tough decision but the correct one for me and my family. I’ve always wanted to stay at Warrington as I love it here and they gave me the chance to come through.
“I spoke with Simon and Tony about the signings they want to make and where the club’s going, so that’s another positive for me.”
Hill faced future teammate Sims in the World Cup and expects the Fiji skipper to add experience to Wolves’ squad.
“He’ll bolster us in the pack and bring a bit more grit,” said Hill. “He’s an experienced international so he’ll be a good signing.
“George King made his debut last week, another young lad, and it’s about getting them under the right people.
“Bennie (Westwood) helped me as did Moz (Adrian Morley). Hopefully I can do the same for the young kids here now.”
Smith has long been an admirer of Sims, saying: “He’s a fantastic player to watch and I’ve admired him for many a year.
“He’s a rough and tough character that puts in wholehearted performances on a weekly basis. He’s got a good engine and is very mobile for a big man.
“He’s quite a character and a big personality within his current club, so I’m sure he’ll add a whole lot to us.”
Wolves head to Hull tomorrow, Friday, chasing a ninth successive win but carrying a sizeable injury list.
Simon Grix dislocated his shoulder against Bradford, while Ben Evans had an operation on his ankle this week.
“Grixy’s shoulder came out. When we decided not to operate on him (previously) that was always going to be a risk and one we’ll probably take again,” explained Smith.
“Hopefully we’ll have Evans back around finals time. Paul Wood is aiming for London, James (Laithwaite) is getting ready for more weight bearing, so not far off.
“Michael Monaghan’s not far off, Trent Waterhouse a few weeks and Kev (Penny) about a month.”