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Matty Ashton: How Warrington Wolves winger went from 'odd one out' to spectacular Super League try-scorer

Warrington Wolves winger Matty Ashton has caught the eye with his spectacular tries for the club in the Betfred Super League; the England international joined The Bench as guest this week; watch Catalans Dragons vs Warrington exclusively live on Sky Sports on Saturday

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Warrington's winger and full-back, Matty Ashton joins Jenna and Jon for this week's episode of The Bench.

Matty Ashton was the odd one out among his friends as a child after choosing rugby league over football. It is, however, a decision which has propelled him to becoming one of the most exciting players in the Betfred Super League.

Growing up in the town of Heywood, in between Bury and Rochdale, it was the round-ball game which held sway. Yet having a Swinton Lions-supporting father meant Ashton was always going to be pushed towards the 13-a-side code.

From those early days playing junior rugby with community club Rochdale Mayfield, he has risen to be one of the stars of the Warrington Wolves team currently fighting it out at the top of Super League where his spectacular try-scoring exploits have won plenty of admirers.

"My dad took me to play when I was six or seven years old," Ashton told The Bench podcast. "He grew up in Swinton so was a massive Swinton Lions fan, and when I signed for them, it was a dream for him.

"Ever since then, I've always loved it with a ball in my hand ever since. I was the only one in the town who had a rugby ball growing up.

"I grew up in Heywood, which is football mad, so I was the odd one out and they always used to say it was because I was bad at football, why I played rugby.

"But I always had a passion for rugby league since I was a kid and it's just grown."

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Matty Ashton's 2024 Super League stats

Ashton was not always a lightning-fast winger though. In his formative years at Mayfield, he was more of a half-back or a centre, and it was not until his year playing in Australia for Mullumbimby Giants in the Northern Rivers Regional League where he was moved into the back three.

The natural aptitude for the position led to him stepping into the professional ranks with part-timers Swinton and subsequently being signed by Warrington on the back of a 30-try 2019 campaign where he was named as the Betfred Championship's young player of the year.

The 25-year-old puts his success, which includes earning his first England Test caps last year, down to his work ethic more than anything else though.

"I don't think I was ever that quick in school," Ashton said. "I did the long-distance running because I was never the quick one.

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Speaking on The Bench with Jenna and Jon, Warrington Wolves' Matty Ashton confirmed he would like to play in the NRL one day.

"I think when I went to Australia, I thought 'I'm pretty quick here'. I didn't play on the wing or anything until I was 18, I was more of a half-back or centre growing up, then when I played full-back or winger, I opened my legs up and I was quick.

"I think it's the work-rate more than anything. I think that goes throughout my career so far; I've not always been the most talented, but I'll always work the hardest.

"I pride myself on hard work and off the back of that my effort stuff, and that's what's helped me get to where I am so far."

Along with his pace, Ashton has caught the eye in Super League with his trademark acrobatic tries in the corner, which have seen him squeeze over in the tightest of spaces.

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Warrington Wolves' Matty Ashton tells The Bench with Jenna and Jon that practicing scoring acrobatic tries in training has translated into sensational scores during matches.

It is a skill he spends plenty of time working on at training, diving onto a gym mat while Wolves hooker Sam Powell runs at him with a tackle shield, and although there is not much technique to it he believes that practice pays off.

"It's just jump, shut your eyes and hope for the best," Ashton said. "I do a bit of practice on it in training, which obviously helps.

"You've always got someone coming at you with a tackle shield. Sam Powell has been doing a lot this year - he's been hitting me harder with a shield and I drop it half the time in training.

"But when it comes to games, nine times out of 10 it pays off, but I'll keep practising."

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Highlights of Catalans Dragons' win away to Warrington Wolves in the Betfred Super League's Rivals Round.

Ashton was among the try-scorers as Warrington sealed their place in the Betfred Challenge Cup final with a 46-10 victory over Huddersfield Giants, while they are among the four teams locked on 16 points at the top of the Super League table heading into Round 12 this week.

The Wolves take on another of those sides, Catalans Dragons, on Saturday live on Sky Sports, and are aiming to make up for the two defeats they have already suffered against last season's Grand Final runners-up when they travel to Perpignan.

Even with those loses, it has been an impressive start to Sam Burgess' career as head coach at the Halliwell Jones Stadium and Ashton admits seeing the rugby league icon every day still has him in awe of what he has achieved so far in his career.

"Seeing him around the place every day is still a massive shock to me," Ashton said. "He's got that aura about him which all the lads like and it's stuff like that which humbles me.

"It makes you look back and think 'wow, look where I've got to'. I'm grateful every day going into the place, it's a happy place to be around, and I'm loving it at the minute."

Catalans Dragons vs Warrington Wolves is exclusively live on Sky Sports Action from 5pm on Saturday (5.30pm kick-off). Watch every match of the 2024 Betfred Super League season, including Magic Weekend, the play-offs, and men's, women's, and wheelchair Grand Finals, live on Sky Sports. Also stream with NOW.

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