Matty Russell believes off-field calm can reap on-field benefits at Warrington


MATTY Russell Mark II is a safer bet to produce the goods at Warrington second time around – Mark I was blighted by a gambling problem that cost him tens of thousands of pounds.

The winger has made an unlikely return to the club he starred at from 2014-2018.

Matty Russell believes he is in a better place to produce the goods after Warrington return

But he has unfinished business with the Wolves, he wants to make amends for the way his first stint ended.

At the time, his demons were taking him over – eventually he would lose a £90,000 pot – and it showed.

“Unfinished business is a big reason I came back,” said Russell. “And I’ve worked on myself over the last couple of years.

“It’s been more off the field, being professional in the way I went about my life. That’s something I didn’t really do during my first stint at Warrington.

“Towards the end of that was when I was struggling the most. I was a big gambler, gambling was a bad one and that has a knock-on effect in your life.

“I was drinking too, that was a bad spiral and once you get one bad thing, you’re in a bit of a depression state and that’s what I was in.

“And with results not going well in that year, it really took its toll on me and I was taking it into games.

“When you’re going on the pitch and you’ve things going on at home or off the field in your private life, you take things on there.

“I didn’t do much training, I was going in with not much motivation.

“But a lot of things come with working on yourself – you get better with things like your diet, your training. I’ve implemented that into my life now and it seems to be bringing rewards.

“I’m back and I’m fresher than ever. I’ve a new lease of life and I’m happy to go again.

“I had some good years and played in some finals but that last year we didn’t do well in the league and Steve Price came in after what was probably my worst season.

Matty Russell scores a for Warrington in the Challenge Cup
Matty Russell is back at Warrington after believing he is still a Super League-standard player

“I’ve great memories and I loved playing for much of my time here. However, in that last year, the whole team under-performed. We ended up in the Middle Eights competition.

“As a winger, you sometimes cop a lot of it and when Steve came in, I didn’t really fit in. Now I want to round it off on a high now.”

Scotland international Russell has certainly taken a roundabout route back to Warrington.

Take in a move to doomed Toronto Wolfpack, from whom he is still owed wages, and a stint at Toulouse, where he suffered relegation last season, and you certainly cannot accuse him of not putting in the miles.

But even after the drop in France, belief he is a Super League player never wavered and the phone call from Wolves boss Daryl Powell justified his faith.

Russell, 29, added: “I liked the lifestyle in Toulouse and the way the club was run but they didn’t stay up – straight away I wanted to play in Super League.

Russell suffered relegation with Toulouse last season

“Even though we were losing games most weeks, I was still performing and I got pushed by a lot of peers to keep playing, with them saying, ‘You need to keep playing Super League every week. You’re too good to drop down to the Championship.’

“That was key for me and Warrington have some great youngsters and outside backs but wanted to add some strength in depth and experience.

“I think they also wanted someone who carries the ball a bit differently – I just fitted the bill.

“It feels a bit weird to be back but I’m loving it here and training’s gone really well.

“It’s a chance I probably thought had gone, especially at Warrington. After my first time here, I didn’t think I’d have a chance to play at another good club like Warrington.

“It’s a strange one but I’m delighted.”

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