Former Swinton Lions player Matty Ashton has scored two tries and was given Player of the Match in England’s Rugby League international against Tonga on Saturday.

It was the game in which he made his international debut as England won 14-4 in Huddersfield, giving them an unassailable 2-0 series lead.

After the game, Ashton told the BBC: “I’m living the dream. That’s what I’m there to do and I could have had a couple more but made a couple of errors. It’s been a rollercoaster ride and my family is proud”.

His pair of tries in the first half proved to be enough as the Tongans struggled to break down a resolute English defence.

Ashton grew up in Greater Manchester and has been playing Rugby League from the age of seven, firstly for Rochdale Mayfield.

He joined Swinton Lions in 2019, then 20 years old, in what Swinton Lions CEO Stephen Wild said was “a development project”.

Despite that, Wild said: “Matty’s impact was immediate and incredible.” He scored 30 tries in 25 matches and became the Championship’s top try scorer.

From Youtube video:
Matty Ashton scoring the first try for England against Tonga (Credit: NRL – National Rugby League on YouTube).

That season he also won Championship Young Player of the Year, earning him a Super League move to the Warrington Wolves for an undisclosed fee.

Following Saturday’s performance, Wild said: “We have since followed his progress with immense pride, and it was fantastic to be in the stadium on Saturday to see Matty score those two tries for England.”

He also noted that it proves there is plenty of talent coming through the Championship from clubs like the Swinton Lions.

England’s final game in the three match series is on Saturday at Headingley, where Ashton could feature for his country for a second time.

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