ONLY TWO specialist forwards have scored more than three tries in a game for Leeds Rhinos in the summer era.
The second of those was Ali Lauitiiti, who came off the substitutes’ bench to grab a nap hand of touchdowns in a 70-6 romp at Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in June, 2005.
But he was beaten to the feat by second-row/loose-forward Andy Hay, who – 12 years ago last week, on March 3, 2002 – touched down four times as London Broncos were thrashed 48-6 in Rhinos’ opening fixture of Super League VII.
Those tries were among 43 scored by Hay in 139 appearances – 112 of those off the bench – for Rhinos from 1997 to 2002.
Now 40, Hay – from Castleford – began his professional career with his hometown club and was a substitute in their famous Regal Trophy win over Wigan in January, 1994.
He moved to Sheffield Eagles, at the time run by Gary Hetherington, in 1995 and was a key signing for Leeds mid-way through the season two years later as the club began to rebuild following the takeover by Hetherington and Paul Caddick.
A strong-running forward, with an eye for the line, the month of March seemed to bring the best out of him as a try scorer.
He touched down three times when Leeds beat then lower division Widnes Vikings 46-10 in an away Challenge Cup quarter-final 15 years ago this week, on March 14, 1999.
Hay was a member of the Leeds team which went on to win the trophy that year – Leroy Rivett scoring four tries in the final. At the end of 2002 Rhinos coach Daryl Powell had a clear out and Hay was one of the players to leave the club, going on to join Widnes.
He made 52 Super League appearances for the Vikings in 2003 and 2004.
Probably the most satisfying of those was in June of his first season at Widnes, when visiting Leeds were beaten 29-14. Vikings’ side that afternoon included fellow ex-Rhinos Dan Potter, Adam Hughes, Dean Lawford and Phil Cantillon.
After leaving Widnes, Hay played for Doncaster and then joined the coaching staff at Sheffield, before returning to Castleford as an assistant to team boss Terry Matterson.
He earned a big reputation at Castleford and – after missing out on the top job when Matterson left – moved to a similar role with Hull. He is now Brian Noble’s right hand man at big-spending Salford Red Devils.
As well as his club honours, Hay played for Great Britain in 1999 and was a member of England’s 2000 World Cup squad.