“Challenge Cup hangovers” are the excuses this week by our broadcasters for certain clubs. Though an easier excuse to utilise than blaming the match officials, credit where it is due to others, especially the ones responsible.
Coach – Lee Radford
Returning to coach is Hull FC’s Lee Radford. The Hull-born former captain saw his side record a memorable victory against Warrington Wolves at the Halliwell Jones stadium to throw the race to Old Trafford well and truly open.
A result not many, if any, saw coming as the Wolves have posted 143 points on the Airlie Birds on their previous two encounters.
But Radford’s words evidently inspired the Black and Whites to catch the high-flying Wolves by surprise in a 19-12 win that sees Hull remain on course for the Theatre of Dreams as well as Wembley.
Full-back – Lachlan Coote
St Helens star signing Lachlan Coote returns to the full-back role. The Scottish international is in red hot form as could well secure the Great Britain position as his own should he continue.
He bagged a hat-trick of tries in their home win over Salford as well as providing two try assist, two tackle busts, two attacking kicks and a staggering 188 metres from 22 carries.
Okay, a controversial result but take nothing away from Coote, he has already won over the St Helens support and should pose a threat for the Man of Steel award later this year.
Wingers – Kieran Dixon & Jermaine McGillvary
On the wings for English duo Kieran Dixon and Jermaine McGillvary.
Dixon starred as the London Broncos stunned all with their second triumph over Wakefield Trinity this season, with Dixon scoring another two tries and five goals in the win.
He also worked overtime, with ten tackle busts and 229 metres from 12 carries as Trinity were unable to cope.
As for McGillvary, the English international proved more than a handful for Hull Kingston Rovers.
The 31-year-old also touched down twice but also managed five busts and 109 metres from 15 carries as he helped the Giants overturn a half-time deficit to secure a vital win that ultimately took them away from the threat of relegation, for now at least.
Centres – David Mead & Tom Makinson
An all international selection at centre in David Mead and Tom Makinson.
Mead was one of the stars in Catalans’ historic win over Wigan at the Nou Camp, a game that ultimately recorded Super League’s highest ever regular round attendance.
The Papua New Guinean scored two tries, completed ten tackles, five busts and 136 metres from 10 carries as Wigan were simply no match.
As for Makinson, well worthy of his golden boot, produced another sensational performance in St Helens’ hard-fought, yet decisive home win over Salford.
Scoring two tries, 16 tackles, seven busts and 176 metres from 15 carries was a fantastic effort as Makinson is no doubt cruising towards a Great Britain position but first things first, domestic silverware, something he won’t want to cruelly evade them again.
Stand-off – Jordan Abdull
No doubt about the choice for stand-off, London’s Jordan Abdull enjoyed arguably his greatest ever performance in his career thus far.
The Hull-born scored an unbelievable four tries in their 42-34 win over Wakefield to make the battle for survival very interesting.
Though he also led by example, completing ten tackles, nine busts, five attacking kicks and 87 metres from 14 carries in a terrific individual effort.
Scrum-half – Marc Sneyd
Now, a man popular with his local support but perhaps underrated by the rest is Hull FC’s Marc Sneyd.
His attacking skills are repeatedly questioned but on Saturday, he helped Hull gain sweet revenge over the Warrington Wolves.
Two try assists, 21 tackles, three attacking kicks and 90 metres from eight carries for good measure really saw him silence his critics as he aims to take FC back towards some silverware.
Props – Liam Watts & Scott Taylor
The front row sees two former team mates selected in Liam Watts and Scott Taylor.
Liam Watts starred in Castleford’s 30-8 win at Headingley on Thursday and is arguably proving to be one of their greatest ever signings in Super League history.
The 28-year-old completed 33 tackles, but his attacking was his highlight with his staggering 144 metres from 16 carries that kept the Leeds Rhinos on the back foot throughout.
As for Taylor, despite being flattened in one hit-up that fans are not letting us forget, he led by example in the forward pack in a heroic effort from the Black and Whites.
Taylor notched a try, completed 24 tackles, four busts and managed 125 metres from 17 carries, easily earning his chant of “one of our own”.
Hooker – Joey Lussick
At hooker is one of Salford’s top signings in Joey Lussick.
The 23-year-old produced a fantastic effort as the Red Devils came ever so close to defeating St Helens.
He provided an assist, completed 40 tackles, two busts and even managed ten hit-ups but it was not enough as Salford were cruelly undone late on but remain contenders for the Play-offs heading into the second half of 2019.
Second-row – Jesse Sene-Lefao & Ukuma Ta’ai
The back row sees two ‘brothers’ lining up in Jesse Sene-lefao and Ukuma Ta’ai.
A touching gesture that such players refer to each other as such and here, they would have done their countries proud as both were fantastic in their sides wins over Leeds and Hull KR.
Sene-Lefao bagged a brace of tries, completed 20 tackles, four busts and even tallied 106 metres from 13 carries.
Ta’ai was also a threat throughout, in both attack and defence; with 32 tackles, six busts and 117 metres from 13 carries.
Both players were intimidating throughout, running their weight and putting their bodies on the line in crucial wins for both of their clubs.
Loose-forward – Joe Westerman
Completing the team this week is the coveted Joe Westerman of Hull FC.
Other clubs are in the market for him but for now, the 29-year-old produced another top display for the Airlie Birds.
He completed 38 tackles, three busts and 142 metres from 17 carries, all while remaining on the field of play for the entire match was a ‘monster’ effort so is it any wonder why Hull’s rivals are requiring his services?!