26 Apr 2021

Round 4 talking points

Hall-mark weekend for KR winger

Hull Kingston Rovers winger Ryan Hall celebrated a significant personal milestone on Friday. Hall crossed for a landmark 200th Super League try during the Robins 26-6 victory against Leeds - the team where he made his name. It was perhaps written in the stars that Hall would cross for his 200th try against his former club after returning to Super League this year after he scored a hat-trick at his old home ground, Emerald Headingley, in round one. His 200th try loomed after that and following two scoreless weeks in rounds two and three, the moment arrived against the Rhinos. Hall scored 196 tries for Leeds since making his debut in 2007 - winning six Grand Final rings in the process - with Friday being the first time he has faced his boyhood club since his Super League debut 14 years ago.

In scoring his 200th try, Hall now also moves into stand-alone second place on the all time Super League try scoring charts. Surpassing Saints legend Paul Wellens and former teammate Keith Senior, the only thing standing between Ryan Hall and the summit of the try scoring leader board is another former teammate and now assistant coach, Danny McGuire. McGuire scored 247 tries during his glittering Super League career and sits some way ahead of Hall in first place - something that is bound to spring up in conversation between the two. 

Three's a crowd

The results in round four left us with three teams at the top and foot of the Betfred Super League table with very different records. Saints, Wigan & Hull FC are the three remaining teams who are yet to be beaten this year. The Warriors tamed the Tigers on Thursday Night and ended their 100% record in 2021 - whilst Warrington produced somewhat of an upset in Perpignan - slaying the Dragons and handing them their first loss this season. St Helens and Wigan are four from four in Super League this year and have set the benchmark early on. Brett Hodgson's Hull FC are third in the ladder after three wins and a draw - the black and whites produced a spirited defensive display during a tough home win against Wakefield.

At the other end of the table, three teams hold an unwanted record - four losses and no wins. Chris Chester's Wakefield side were left frustrated after defeat to Hull FC on Friday – Trinity showed plenty of endeavour but lacked quality in the final third - failing to capitalise on their dominant field position and 55% possession. Richard Marshall registered his first win as Salford coach, piling on the misery for Super League new boys Leigh - the Centurions have looked off the pace since their narrow loss to the Warriors in round one and have conceded 130 points in their last three games.

Meanwhile, the more surprising addition to the bottom three is Ian Watson's Huddersfield Giants. Their indifferent start to the 2021 season continued against the Champions - the Giants started slow but showed great resolve in the second stanza and left Ian Watson comfortable with his sides effort. Watson has spoken at length about improving his sides processes and is confident that the Giants will be competing as the season unfolds. If Thursday's second half performance is an indicator of what to expect - then the Giants won't be waiting long for their maiden win this season.

French leaves his mark

It was a welcome return to action for Wigan's Bevan French on Thursday Night - the 2020 Man of Steel finalist starred on the wing during the Warriors 22-12 victory against Castleford. French scored two tries as he looked to pick up where he left off last season - albeit in a different position to the one he became accustom to in 2020. 

Despite French's impressive comeback on Thursday, it may be some time before we see him return to full back. Zak Hardaker has been one of the standout players in Super League during the first four rounds - making it almost impossible for Adrian Lam to vacate the number one spot for the incoming Bevan French.

So, will we see the best of Bevan whilst he's on the wing? If Thursday's game is anything to go by, then absolutely. His blistering pace and evasive running was still evident out wide - he made an impressive 165 metres from 17 carries as well as six tackle busts and a clean break - hugely impressive given his late arrival back to Wigan this year. French's unrivalled ability was evident throughout 2020 and, with the added competition at full back in 2021, we could see French step up even further this season.