YOUNG WINGER Ash Handley has received a pat on the back from coach Brian McDermott following his hat-trick in Leeds Rhinos’ 46-18 win over St Helens.
That took the 19-year-old’s tally to 11 tries in 17 appearances this term and was his second three-try haul against Saints.
Handley also returned the ball strongly and was safe under some tricky kicks as Saints tried to force a mistake. The youngster has been targeted by opposing teams since coming into the side to replace the injured Tom Briscoe and McDermott said: “He must be very pleased.
“Because he is still young people continue to have a crack at him and he keeps coming up with the answers. He has got a fair amount of work-rate in him, as well as the nice finishes.”
The coach felt his middle men deserved huge praise for their efforts in Friday’s match.
“JP (Jamie Peacock) has been looking tired for a couple of weeks,” McDermott observed.
“He is allowed to be, but I thought he looked really strong again.
“Adam Cuthbertson is having a fantastic season and Mitch Garbutt on his debut was solid.
“Brett Delaney and Carl Ablett do that much work and Jimmy Keinhorst looked a shell of a man through fatigue mid-way through that second half and I don’t blame him either.
“He has got a bit of strike about him, but he knows how to work hard and how to put his body in front of attackers.”