Looking back at Ryan Hall's Leeds Rhinos career as Hull KR winger prepares to face former club for first time
A hero of Leeds Rhinos’ golden generation will be in the opposition ranks for the first time at Hull KR on Friday.
Unarguably the best English winger of his generation, Ryan Hall will forever hold a place in Leeds fans’ hearts after scoring the most dramatic try in the club’s history.
On September 25, 2015, Rhinos – already the Challenge Cup holders – made the short trip to Huddersfield Giants for the final round of the Super-eights knowing a win would seal top spot in the league table.
With eight minutes remaining, they were eight points behind and heading for third place, but Tom Briscoe scored at the corner and Kevin Sinfield landed a touchline conversion; then the captain booted a penalty in the final moments to level the scores.
There was one set remaining in the game and on the final tackle Leeds were deep inside their own half when Danny McGuire, Hull KR’s assistant-coach, tried a chip ahead and – as the hooter sounded – Hall took the ball on the bounce and sped past full-back Scott Grix and away from winger Jermain McGillvary to score the winning try.
Pandemonium ensued and Leeds took the league leaders’ shield home with them, going on to complete the domestic treble at Old Trafford two weeks later.
Even before that dramatic finale to the league campaign, Hall, now 33, had cemented his place as Leeds’ best winger of the summer era and one of the finest ever to wear blue and amber.
A product of the Oulton Raiders club, he played open age rugby in the National Conference before being snapped up by Rhinos.
Hall made his debut in another unforgettable Super League finish, the 2007 Millennium Magic derby against Bradford Bulls in Cardiff, when Jordan Tansey’s try – from an offside position after Sinfield’s penalty had rebounded off the metalwork – snatched victory for Leeds on the final play of the game. Built more like a forward than a prop and almost impossible to stop close to the line, Hall became known as World’s Best Winger during a 12-season career at his home city club, in which he scored 231 tries – fifth on Leeds’ all-time list. Hall also has a tally of 36 tries from 38 England caps.
A big-game player, he won six Super League rings, scoring a try in three Grand Final successes and his touchdown against St Helens in 2011 was possibly the best seen at Old Trafford. Rob Burrow’s break and brilliant dummy created it, but Hall needed all his strength and pace to finish off.
He bagged a brace the following year, including a length of the field interception, when Leeds beat Manly Sea Eagles in the World Club Challenge and one of his finest performances was at Wembley in 2014, scoring two tries and taking home the Lance Todd Trophy as Rhinos’ long Challenge Cup drought ended against Castleford Tigers.
Hall’s Leeds career was ended by an anterior cruciate ligament injury towards the end of 2018, after he had signed a two-year contract with Aussie club Sydney Roosters, beginning the following season.
He didn’t score in the NRL, but ran in a hat-trick on his Rovers debut, against Catalans Dragons, at Emerald Headingley last month.
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