Ryan Hall back in Super League with Hull KR to prove it’s more than just tries after drawing a blank with Sydney Roosters
RYAN Hall does not care one iota that he never scored a try in the NRL.
It should not be a surprise; even when he was scoring tries for fun, whether with Leeds Rhinos or England, the prolific winger always maintained that was just a by-product of his main job – helping the team.
When he unusually drew a blank, then, in his 11 games with Sydney Roosters over the last two seasons, the same mantra applied.
It did not irk Hall in any way, even if the Australian press found it increasingly amusing England’s record scorer could not get off the mark.
Having returned from Down Under to start a two-year contract with Hull KR, he is not kidding when he told The Yorkshire Post: “I wasn’t bothered in the slightest.
“Everyone else made a deal of it – but I wasn’t bothered! I’ve said it from day one, when I was scoring so many tries with Leeds, that it’s not something I set out to do.
“Obviously it’s nice to score – that’s great – but it’s what you add to the team that’s always important and I’ve always said that.
“It’s how the modern-day winger has evolved. Other people might make a thing of it, like in the media, but I was very comfortable in my knowledge of that.”
Roosters won the 2019 Grand Final during Hall’s time there but a couple of serious knee injuries meant he never established himself in Trent Robinson’s side, playing just six games in his debut campaign and five last term.
Once rated the world’s greatest winger, how does the 33 year-old look back on his time with the star-studded outfit? “On my farewell presentation evening back in Sydney, I got to speak to everyone there – board members, staff, fans – and I think I summed it up pretty well,” said Hall, who scored 232 tries in 327 games for Leeds and won six Grand Finals.
“I said I obviously didn’t achieve what I wanted to achieve when I first came over and that was disappointing for myself.
“But life is not a fairytale; you can’t want to achieve things and expect to achieve them all of the time.
“You will get some things that you won’t achieve. That was just one of them.
“And it was just down to things out of my control; I went over there injured with one of the longest and hardest injuries to come back from (an ACL suffered in Leeds colours).
“I got back playing and then did the other knee (before dislocating it playing for Great Britain in 2019) which took a long time to come back from again.
“I was always fighting an uphill battle from day one but throw all the injuries in, and then the second year with Covid, it was just destined to be hard work.
“But I will always look back on it with really fond memories; I know I didn’t achieve what I wanted to on the field but there was the bigger picture than that and there were certainly some great things that I managed to enjoy with my family.”
Now he is back in his familiar territory of Super League, even if in the red and white of the Robins rather than the blue and amber of hometown Leeds, Hall sees no reason why he cannot pick up where he left off.
“Touch wood all the injuries are behind me now,” he said.
“I am in good shape and as long as that goes well I can’t see why not. That’s the short answer to that one!”
He was originally due to join Toronto Wolfpack in 2021 after his two-year Roosters deal came to an end but their demise meant he unexpectedly came back on the market.
Hall opted to join Rovers and reunite with Tony Smith, the head coach who nurtured him at Rhinos, and former Leeds team-mate Danny McGuire who is now assisting at Hull College Craven Park.
“Tony gave me my debut at Leeds and taught me from day one a lot of the do’s and don’ts of professional sport,” he said.
“Some things I learned in that year (2007) I’ve kept with me all throughout my career; he set me off in good stead and gave me my England debut, too, against France in 2009 and now I’m back under him again with Hull KR.
“It’s fitting really that I am back there with him now.
“There were a couple of Super League clubs who showed interest but once KR came in that was where there were most positives for me and that’s why I chose them.”
The East Yorkshire club are desperate to get out of the rut of being perennial strugglers and their recruitment suggests they could be on the way to doing that.
As well as Hall, Smith has brought in three other players from the NRL – Parramatta Eels centre Brad Takairangi, Melbourne Storm prop Albert Vete and St George Illawarra front-row Korbin Sims.
Hall did not want to comment on the calibre of recruitment – “I’m one of the recruits!” – but added: “Whatever group of players we have, I know what Tony’s work ethic is like.
“I know it will be a hard-working bunch. Even if you are not initially, you will be eventually under Tony.
“It might take a while for things to settle in. But he’s been here 18 months or so now and his footprints are starting to emerge on the team.
“Hopefully that can grow further this year. I’m looking forward to it all.”
One thing is for certain: a fully-fit Ryan Hall, with his imposing presence, power and strength, will enhance the Robins no end.
Tries or no tries.
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