Smith hails ‘outstanding’ Russell

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Published: Sunday 8th March 2015 by The News Editor

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Tony Smith hailed the two-try performance of Scotland full-back Matty Russell as he celebrated the sixth anniversary of his appointment as Warrington head coach with a 32-24 win over Hull KR in the only Super League match on Sunday.

Russell, switched from full-back to wing, produced two excellent finishes as well as the crucial hand in a try for Gary Wheeler to help the Wolves twice come from behind to claim a win that lifts them up to third place in the table.

England international Stefan Ratchford was another impressive performer at full-back on his return from a two-match injury absence as Warrington bounced back from consecutive defeats.

“It was good to have Stef back but he was not as good as Matty,” Smith said. “I thought he was outstanding, he was unbelievable carrying the ball and came up with some really good finishes.

“I can see why he was so keen to get on the wing. He looked really comfortable today.”

Warrington outscored their visitors by six tries to four, with Joel Monaghan, Ben Currie and Joe Philbin the other scorers, but Smith says there is still plenty of room for improvement.

“We were good in patches,” he said. “We had our moments but we’re not quite back on it yet.

“To have 24 points scored against us, you are never overly happy. We found a way to keep ahead but our kicking game and some aspects of our defence need to improve.”

Smith was forced to make a late change to his side when centre Ryan Atkins pulled out with flu while Chris Bridge and Ben Harrison were left out to “freshen up”.

That meant late call-ups Philbin, who made his full debut, and George King and a makeshift role at centre for back-row forward Currie.

“I thought Ben Currie handled it really well and took his try unbelievably well,” Smith said. “He showed he can handle centre no problem.”

Hull KR twice took the lead thanks to two tries from winger Josh Mantellato and one in his 100th game by Frenchman Kevin Larroyer but their third defeat in four leaves them at the foot of the table.

“We’re not reading too much into that,” said Rovers coach Chris Chester. “We are only four games in.

“We’re disappointed with the result but there are a lot of positives to take.

“I thought we dominated for big periods of the game but, take nothing away from Warrington, who are a class side. They’ve got some speed and we just dropped off a few tackles and it cost us in the end.

“We found a way to get back in the game after they put three tries on us in the first half. We run out of steam in the last five or 10 minutes.”

Hull KR were indebted to skipper Terry Campese for another impressive performance.

“Terry is getting better every week,” Chester said. “His game management was very good.”

Published: Sunday 8th March 2015 by The News Editor

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