A BRACE against Catalan Dragons three days ago got a monkey off Leeds Rhinos winger Ryan Hall’s back.
While on the right-flank Tom Briscoe had crossed four times in Leeds’ opening two games in First Utility Super League – and added another against Catalan – Hall, right, travelled to France still waiting to get off the mark.
Before last Friday’s game he had gone six games without a try and had touched down just once in 11 matches.
For a player with a record of 156 tries in 195 games for Rhinos that was a rare barren spell, but his double in Perpignan took him clear of Keiran Cunningham, right, and he is now Super League’s 10th-highest try scorer.
“I am pleased,” he said. “It was a relief to get off the mark. I am not being big-headed, but I am used to scoring tries so it is nice to get the monkey off my back.
“But, as I have always said when I have been scoring tries, that is not the most important thing. As long as the team is winning that’s most important.
“I have been saying that a bit more this year! But it is what I will say all along and if I do get the tries, that is a bonus.”
A couple of flick-passes from centre Joel Moon, far right, gave Hall opportunities against Catalan and he said: “It’s good he can do that. The backline we’ve got at the moment is really firing and we’re getting some good link-up play.”
Of his entry into the competition’s all-time top-10, Hall said: “It put a smile on my face. I am a bit of a stats man, I always tell people I am not, but I do like little things like that. I will keep chipping away and doing the best I can further on.”
Of more importance than Hall’s brace was the two points lead bagged in Perpignan, which maintained their 100 per cent start to the campaign.
Rhinos have yet to face a team from outside last year’s top-eight and Hall observed: “We will keep our goals in-house, but we are a club of high expectations.
“We expect the best from teams and we’d like to think we will win most of our games. As long as the players are playing well, hopefully the run will continue.”
Hall missed just one of Rhinos’ 33 competitive games last year and went straight into the World Cup, where he was a key player in England’s run to the semi-finals.
He was a member of the team pipped 21 seconds from time by New Zealand at Wembley, in what has been described as one of the greatest Test matches of all time and he admitted: “I carried the memory of that lost all through pre-season, until we played the first game. I knew losing that semi-final would stay with me, which it has done. It was always in the back on my mind until the last three weeks, but now it has slowly faded away and I can concentrate on something else. It was a hard thing to get over, mentally.”