Bennett reference helped seal Warrington deal for Steve Price

Warrington chief executive Karl Fitzpatrick has revealed how a glowing reference from England coach Wayne Bennett helped convince the club to make Steve Price their new coach – and he looks increasingly likely to have Ben Murdoch-Masila as part of his plans in 2018.

Price will succeed Tony Smith as Warrington coach on a two-year deal after the Wolves last week confirmed the 40-year-old’s appointment.

And Fitzpatrick told League Express this past Monday that the Australian was appointed on the strength of recommendations from a number of high-profile figures: including Bennettt.

He said: “Some coaches would actually ask Steve for their opinion on players, and all the players I’ve spoken to who have played under him all speak very highly of him.

“I spoke to Wayne and he gave him a glowing reference. He was the only staff member he retained at St George so he not only spoke highly of him but he pointed out he’s won two Grand Finals with two different clubs.

“He was very influential on Cronulla’s success last year – the feedback we got in fact was that he was as influential as any player in 2016. He understands what success looks like and how we get success, that’s why I was really happy with choosing Steve.”

And League Express understands that Salford forward Murdoch-Masila – who was named in this year’s Super League Dream Team – is on the verge of joining Price at Warrington.

A deal has been all-but agreed for the forward to join Warrington, with a six-figure transfer fee in the region of £170,000 agreed between the clubs, as well as the contracts.

It would be the second substantial transfer fee Warrington have shelled out already this off-season, following the arrival of Bryson Goodwin last week.

Meanwhile, Fitzpatrick revealed that Price will travel to England later this month – but without his family, having instructed them to not travel until he is settled into the job.

Fitzpatrick said: “He arrives on the 27th of October so he’s straight into the thick of it – but his family don’t arrive until March.

“He said he doesn’t want any distractions for the first six months, so that tells you about how hungry he is to succeed with Warrington. We’re excited to start working with him.

“We’ve got big expectations at Warrington and he’s aware of that and he’s accustomed to the pressure surrounding being a head coach from his time at St George. When we did our due diligence and spoke to people he’s worked for, his eye for recruitment was pointed out.”