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How Warrington swooped under Wigan’s nose to sign Matty Ashton

Matty Ashton scored two spectacular tries last week against Huddersfield Giants.

Since joining Warrington Wolves, the speedy winger / fullback has been one of the best players to watch in the league but he was very nearly a Wigan Warriors player.

The Warriors were best placed to sign him due to their dual registration agreement with Swinton Lions.

However, Warrington CEO Karl Fitzpatrick has revealed how the Wolves swooped under the Warriors’ noses to sign Ashton on the Out of your League podcast:

“Peter Williams, George William’s Dad, was our recruitment officer in the Championship and he went to look at a prop forward at Halifax. As part of the report he noted any players that popped up and caught his eye, and Matty Ashton came up.

“He was at Swinton at the time so he went back the following week and said ‘this kid’s got something’. So I went to watch him play Widnes, he played full-back that day and was outstanding. Brave, pace, instinct and I said ‘let’s go for him’

“But I knew Wigan were in for him as well because at the time Swinton had a link with Wigan through dual reg partnership.

“I waited until Wigan were playing on Sky one night, they were playing Catalans so I contacted whilst the game was playing Andy Mazey who was owner of Swinton at the time, that we wanted to sign Matty.

“He was on holiday and he said no and they had a dual partnership with Wigan and he had to give them an opportunity, wasn’t accepting it. I wanted to make it happen, he came back saying no so we offered a transfer fee.

“The replies were coming longer and longer so I thought he must be thinking about it and he was still quite adamant after a while saying ‘no I’ve got to go back to Wigan’.

“I’m watching the game clock thinking ‘f**k, we’ve got tot get this done before Wigan have the opportunity to put a spanner in the works’, so we up the transfer fee and again delayed response.

“It comes back and said ‘if you throw in a friendly we’ll make it happen’, so boom we’re on. We agreed a deal and a transfer, the Wigan game finished and obviously they didn’t get chance to respond.”

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