29th March 2021, 10:10 | englandrl
The Betfred Super League returned with six sensational games this past weekend and a number of England Rugby League World Cup hopefuls put an early marker down as they look to force themselves into Shaun Wane’s plans.
England’s all-time leading try-scorer Ryan Hall continued where he left off in Super League back in 2018 as he scored a hat-trick for new club Hull Kingston Rovers albeit in a dramatic Golden Point Extra-Time defeat to Catalans Dragons.
Hall pounced on a mistake by Dragons centre Dean Whare to notch his first before doing incredibly well to get on the end of a looping pass and a Jordan Abdull kick to score his second and third on the left-hand side. Hall’s first hat-trick coming at the Emerald Headingley Stadium, a ground at which he is synonymous with scoring tries following 12 years with Leeds Rhinos.
Following the game, speaking to Sky Sports, Hall said: “Try-scoring is great, but I’ve always said it from day one as a kid coming through, I’d trade tries for championships.
“Three tries is pleasing but I’d trade it for two points in the league. I’d spend another two seasons not scoring a try if the team achieved something.
“Try-scoring is on a winger’s list but, for me, it’s not that high up. It is a product of playing in a good team and what you do at the start of the set as a winger can probably dictate how the sets go and you might get the rewards at the end.”
Sam Tomkins was impressive for Catalans providing two try-assists while winger Tom Davies made more metres than anyone else on the field with 192.
Saturday’s double-header was clearly one for the wingers as Wakefield Trinity and England flyer Tom Johnstone continued to entertain as he scored two long-range efforts in their 22-28 defeat to Leeds Rhinos.
Johnstone – who has one England appearance to his name following his debut against France in 2018 – scored his first down the left-hand side, racing 90 metres in total and rounding fullback Richie Myler to score. The 25-year-old would finish from deep inside his own half again after the break as he plucked Luke Gale’s kick out of mid-air.
St Helens began the defence of their Betfred Super League title with a 29-6 victory over Salford Red Devils on Friday evening, in a repeat of the 2019 Grand Final.
Alex Walmsley shocked many in 2020 with his try-scoring exploits and he was on the scoresheet in the Saints’ first game of 2021 as well. Fellow England duo Mark Percival and Tommy Makinson also crossed in a comfortable victory for Kristian Woolf’s side. Jonny Lomax and James Roby also featured.
A Zak Hardaker try and conversion proved the difference as Wigan Warriors fought back against Leigh Centurions on Friday evening. Hooker Sam Powell made a mammoth 65 tackles in Wigan’s victory with a returning John Bateman following with 52 defensive efforts. English centre Jake Bibby scored a double for the Warriors.
Castleford Tigers new arrival Niall Evalds was the star of the show in their 21-12 defeat of Warrington Wolves. The former Salford fullback scored and provided two try-assists in a dazzling attacking display. The reigning Steve Prescott MBE Man of Steel Paul McShane kicked a goal and added a drop-goal to help Daryl Powell’s side to victory.
Daryl Clark and Toby King got their names on the scoresheet for Warrington.
Finally, it was a winning start for Brett Hodgson at Hull FC with England World Cup prospects Josh Griffin and Jake Connor both scoring in the 22-10 win over Huddersfield.
You can purchase tickets to watch England face the Combined Nations All-Stars on Friday 25 June, 8:15pm, at the Halliwell Jones Stadium here.