Leeds Rhinos: Winger Hall enjoyed being centre of attention

Ryan Hall
Ryan Hall
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ENGLAND WINGER Ryan Hall says he feels refreshed by his first taste of a new on-field role.

Hall played the full 80 minutes of Leeds Rhinos’ 58-0 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup quarter-final win over Featherstone Rovers in the left-centre.

Ryan Hall

Ryan Hall

He was listed in his usual wing slot on the teamsheet, with Ash Handley at centre, but the pair – both products of the Oulton Raiders community club – swapped over on the field.

The switch worked as Hall got more ball than he has in recent matches and provided the final pass for both Handley’s tries, either side of half-time.

He also touched down himself – from a kick by Liam Sutcliffe – to record his first score in six matches.

That was the 247th touchdown of his career and his 215th for Leeds.

Ash Handley's first try.

Ash Handley's first try.

After the game coach Brian McDermott joked about gradually moving Hall infield until he finishes up at prop, but the 29-year-old six-time Grand Final winner is not getting too carried away with a first venture into a new role.

“I haven’t played at centre for the first team before,” said Hall who is in his testimonial season, 10 years after making his Rhinos debut.

“It was due to injuries and a bit of reshuffling.

“Liam Sutcliffe played centre against Wakefield, but then Ashton Golding wasn’t 100 per cent so we went with Sutty at full-back which is obviously a second position for him.

Ash Handley's second try.

Ash Handley's second try.

“Ash [Handley] had covered at centre a couple of times over the last few weeks, but I just thought I’d give it a blast and see what happens.

“It got me a bit more involved because over the last few weeks I’ve been a bit stale on the wing.

“It freshened things up for myself and I got to see what it was like one-in.”

Hall was happy with the way the switch worked, but admitted it was difficult to judge in such a one-sided game.

Ash Handley and Ryan Hall

Ash Handley and Ryan Hall

Leeds led 22-0 at the break and ran in 10 tries in total.

“I have played outside some great centres so I know how it’s done,” he said.

“I just tried to emulate some of the people who’ve played there before me.

“It turned out all right, but I am not getting carried away.

“No disrespect to Featherstone, but we put 58 points on them so I can’t judge it too much.

“But I was pleased with how it went for a first hit out there.”

The try was an added bonus for Hall.

He said: “I hadn’t scored for ages so it was nice to get one.

“It put a smile back on my face on the field.”

Rhinos will face a tougher challenge on Friday when they take on Betfred Super League leaders Castleford Tigers at Headingley.

Tigers have won the sides’ last six meetings and Hall said: “It’s a massive game.

“It’s the third time we’ve played them this year and they’ve done a job on us twice.

“The first time was an annihilation, but the second time – at the Magic Weekend – I thought the first half was how we need to play against them.

“I thought we were unlucky not to be in front at half-time and ultimately I think that’s why we didn’t win the game, because they came out and blew us away in the first 10 minutes of the second half.

“We need to learn some lessons from the first half at Magic and put an 80-minute performance in because they are a very good side.

“They know what they are doing and what they do works for them.”

Tigers winger Greg Eden is on course for a record-breaking season. Of his potential England teammate, Hall said: “He has scored a mountain of tries.

“When Luke Gale plays, the left-winger of Cas scores tries. The way he plays he creates chances, but you have to be good to score them. I’m not taking anything away from Greg, the tries he has scored take some finishing, but he is getting a lot of opportunities.”

Liam Sutcliffe.

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