IT’S clear there is a lot of faith being placed in Matty Ashton for the upcoming season.

Warrington Wolves’ decision not to directly replace the departed Tom Lineham says as much, as does giving Ashton the number five shirt.

Barring any injuries, it looks as though he and Josh Charnley will start on the flanks when the Super League campaign kicks off.

With Charnley stationed on the right for much of his career, it looks as though Ashton will play on the left wing as Daryl Powell gets to grips with his new squad.

It was often a conundrum of the Steve Price era as to how he would fit into his side, given the electrifying displays he gave when he did get on the field.

His express pace gives his side an X-factor they cannot really afford to neglect – there are few players in the competition as a whole that can top his speed.

Ashton has scored 15 tries in 22 Wire appearances. Picture by

In my view, he is a natural fit and I also reckon he could be a decent bet to be Super League’s top tryscorer for 2022.

There will be plenty of others with something to say about that and a few things will have to click into gear for that to happen, but let me explain.

Looking at Powell’s Castleford sides through the years, the left has often been their strike edge.

It has led to some freakish results.

The two highest numbers of tries scored in an individual Super League season – Denny Solomona’s 40 in 2016 and the 38 scored by Greg Eden the following year – both came from players stationed on Castleford’s left wing.

If Powell can get a similar tune out of a Wire left edge that is already pretty established – assuming he keeps the triumvirate of Gareth Widdop, Ben Currie and Toby King together – Ashton should profit immensely.

Of course, there is the possibility that Powell might want to try a different combination. The arrival of Oliver Holmes – a key component of the aforementioned Castleford left sides – may see him put out there.

However, with plenty already for the players to get used to, would Powell really want to break up a unit that was already functioning pretty well? Perhaps not.

But the biggest obstacle for Ashton is staying fit.

Both of his seasons with The Wire have been punctuated by serious injury – a hamstring tear in 2020 and torn ankle ligaments earlier this year.

Ashton is treated for the serious ankle injury he suffered against Hull KR back in May. Picture by

Ashton is treated for the serious ankle injury he suffered against Hull KR back in May. Picture by

They have stunted his development so him going on to realise his potential depends a lot on him leaving those problems in the past.

That will be the hope of Wire fans everywhere for a player that gets supporters on their feet as soon as the ball comes his way.

If he can have a full, injury-free season and things around him gel in the right way, do not be surprised to see him surpass the 20-try mark for the season.