OLLY Russell’s Super League star is rising quickly after the former Oldham St Anne’s youngster helped Huddersfield Giants to victory against champions Leeds Rhinos at Headingley.
Coaches and team-mates are already singing the praises of the son of former Oldham RL favourite Richard Russell after just two first team games.
Russell junior landed four goals and also booted a late drop goal to end hopes of a Leeds revival.
And he’s proving something of a lucky charm for the Giants who have recovered from a poor start to the season to now be challenging for a place in the end of term Super 8s.
The flame-haired youngster was also on the winning side on his debut against Widnes Vikings last month.
“It was a bit of a dream to play at Headingley and to get a win is surreal,” said the 20-year-old half back after Huddersfield’s 25-18 win.
“Two Super League games, two wins – it’s not bad,” smiled the one-time Saddleworth School pupil.
Russell, whose previous appearance came in a 28-18 win over Widnes, certainly proved an able deputy for suspended veteran Danny Brough.
“I had an inkling in midweek because the coach just said ‘Get ready to play’.
“It sounds weird but I felt more excited than nervous. Now I just want as much game time as I can get.
“If I get another opportunity I will just try my hardest and make the most of it.”
Russell fluffed his lines with a 60-minute penalty chance that would have left Leeds two scores adrift.
He also pushed a first attempt at a drop goal wide before nailing his 75th minute opportunity.
“Maybe pressure got to me a bit,” he admitted. “I have never been in that situation before, especially at Headingley with all those fans.
“It was a bit daunting and all new for me but at least I got another chance and I took it.”
Grateful coach Woolford enthused of Russell: “He was outstanding. His kicking game was great.
“Olly is only young kid but he has the head of a 30-year-old on his shoulders.
“He is nice and calm and composed and led the team around great.
“His kicking game was A class and he came up with a nice drop goal to put us seven in front.
“That was reward for Olly. I have watched him train for five or six weeks now and I had the utmost confidence he could do the job for us.”
Russell was also praised by another of Giants’ young tyros, Matty English.
“I thought he showed great composure to slot the one,” said English. “He showed exactly what he can do.
“I played with him in the Academy and he is one of the best halves I’ve played with.
“It is only early days yet but he has all the skills of a good half.
“He is just a good bloke and hopefully he will have a massive career ahead of him.”