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Warrington Wolves sign Matty Russell from Gold Coast Titans
HE was prepared to head back to Australia and fight for his place in the Gold Coast Titans’ NRL side, but when Wolves came knocking Matthew Russell knew it was an opportunity he could not afford to pass up.
The 20-year-old former Wigan full back was playing some of the best rugby of his career in Australia, tearing up the NRL’s national youth competition by leading the stats in highest metres gained, tackle breaks and line breaks.
“I came back home after the season ended because I was feeling a bit homesick,” said Russell, who has signed a two-year deal from 2014.
“I was watching Super League quite a bit while I was over there and I felt that if a club like Warrington were interested it would be a great opportunity.
“I did really enjoy myself in Australia, it was one of the best years of my life.
“I learned a lot of things out there, I was training with some of the best players in the world and I learned a lot about being professional, about my game and about myself as a person.
“But the fact that Warrington Wolves have become arguably the best club in Super League made it very appealing to come back.”
And Wolves’ challenge for silverware sealed the deal.
“The opportunity to win silverware was a big part of that, too,” said Russell, who will represent Scotland at the forthcoming World Cup.
“Wolves have been competing in the semi finals and finals of both competitions for a number of years now and that is very exciting to be a part of.”
Russell, who spent time on loan with Hull in 2012 before heading Down Under, had been on a lot of coach’s radars since his stand-out performances for England’s under 18s against Australia in 2010, a team in which he played alongside Wolves players Rhys and Ben Evans, Gareth O’Brien, James Laithwaite and Danny Bridge.
Wolves boss Tony Smith was ready to pounce when the opportunity to sign the young Wiganer arose.
“We are excited about Matty. He was an exciting talent before he left and I am sure that his time in Australia has improved him as a rugby league player,” he said.
“He is exciting when he gets the ball in his hands as he has good speed, is very strong and he puts his body on the line every time he carries the ball.”
Russell made his Super League debut in 2012, making six appearances for Hull and two for Wigan, for whom he scored three tries.
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