NOT MANY players reveal a hidden talent after 10 years at the top level.
Ryan Hall did that by landing a touchline conversion to complete the scoring when Leeds Rhinos beat Hull KR 30-4 in his testimonial game.
It was a memorable moment for the 6,000 crowd and the England ace, but Hall revealed he has always had goalkicking in his armoury.
“I used to kick for [his amateur club] Oulton,” Hall said. “But as soon as you come to Leeds and there’s Kevin Sinfield, who’s the world’s best kicker, I didn’t see there was much point me carrying on.
“There’s a vacancy now, but we’ve got some great kickers in the team. Rob Burrow has always been good and Jordan Lilley and Liam Sutcliffe are very good as well, so I don’t think I will be throwing my hat in the ring.”
Hall didn’t get a tryscoring opportunity, but was happy to see some good signs from the team, just 20 days before their season-opening trip to St Helens. He said: “It was a strange feeling all through the day. It was obviously a lot different to a normal game, with the focus being about me.
“It was my first game in a while so I was a bit nervous at the start, but as soon as it started I built into it and it was good that the team found its feet and started playing well towards the end.
“I play rugby because it’s a team sport and I can enjoy winning with my mates. It’s not solely focused on myself. That’s how I like it – and being on the wing it’s a bit isolated at times, but I did enjoy it and as the game went on the crowd kept going, they were relentless in singing my name and that was really good of them. I can’t wait [for the new season to start], I can tell how fit and strong the lads are and how hard they’ve been working and I am really looking forward to seeing where this team can end up.”
Rhinos fielded 34 year olds Danny McGuire and Burrow as their starting half-backs and the duo looked sharp before the captain was taken off with a quad muscle problem in the second half. Hall reckons the veteran combination still have a lot to offer. He said: “They’ve always been great, that’s my point of view from playing alongside them.
“Sometimes form goes and comes and I think they’ve got responsibility this year, they’ve been told ‘six and seven’ and Rob’s really bought into that because he’s been used at hooker over the last few years, but I think he really wants to play seven. He showed that, I thought he went really well.”
Hall was also impressed by newly-arrived hooker Matt Parcell’s first appearance for Leeds. He said: “I think he’s landed on his feet a bit. The new rule means it’s going to be a lot stricter around the markers and he’s very fast.
“We encourage him to run and he showed that, when he got half a chance he ran and looked very dangerous.
“Touch wood that will only get better the more time he spends with the team.”