STEVE Price commented on Warrington Wolves players’ performances in the 16-10 loss to Wigan Warriors, while also providing an injury update on Gareth Widdop.

New marquee signing Widdop, formerly of Melbourne Storm and St George Illawarra Dragons, rolled his ankle in the first week of training with the club in early January.

“He’s doing really well. He’s walking freely, no pain, he’s getting really close,” said the Wire head coach.

“Next week against St Helens will be too early, but he’s getting very close.”

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He is expected to form a formidable partnership in the halves with ex-Canberra Raiders man and fellow marquee player Blake Austin, who is now in his second year in primrose and blue.

Against Wigan in Super League Round One at the DW Stadium on Thursday night, Price chose to partner him with England international Stefan Ratchford who has become more accustomed to the full-back role in recent times but does have plenty of experience in the halves.

“I was really happy with their combination,” said Price, who also picked the double act in the previous week’s friendly against Salford Red Devils.

“It was only their second game and they worked extremely hard on the training paddock. I thought we showed some good touches so it’s only going to get better.”

Ratchford’s switch allowed Price to hand Championship recruit Matty Ashton a Super League debut at full-back.

“He’s a quality player. There’s so much more growth in him,” said Price.

“But when you get growth it’s on the back of courage and being brave. You could see that against Wigan.

“He’s still got a lot more development in him, but he’s a kid who wants to learn and trains extremely hard and is always stretching himself.

“He’s got a bright future as long as he keeps his head down and keeps working hard.”

The other Wire debutant on show was Cook Islands international Anthony Gelling playing on the inside of his former Wigan teammate Josh Charnley.

“A good first hit-out for Gels,” said Price.

“Defensively he was quite sound. He’s another guy who’s only going to get better and better with the combinations around him in understanding what people’s strengths and weaknesses are, so I was pleased with his hit-out also.”

Both back-rowers came in for praise from the boss too.

“I thought Bennie Currie had some good signs. I thought he had some really good touches and I was very pleased with his output,” said Price.

“Ben Murdoch-Masila’s weighing in about 111/112 kilos at the moment. It’s a reflection of being able to train.

“It’s just unfortunate over the last 18 months the big fella hadn’t been able to train on a regular basis because of his lower leg injuries, but we’re reaping those rewards through the amount of hard work he’s doing but also he’s injury free which is pleasing.

“He showed some great touches also.”

Price said he has other players knocking on the door for places in the team.

“Luis Johnson had a solid game in the friendly against Salford,” he said.

“Leilani Latu is putting his hand up now and Matty Davis has been really consistent through the pre-season.

“I feel we have a lot more depth this year which is handy.”