Five underappreciated performances from the Magic Weekend

In one of the most exciting magic weekends we’ve seen in years, there were some outstanding performances. This list looks at the players whose contribution to their side may have been overlooked.

Joe Batchelor
In a game full of twists, Joe Batchelor was arguably the difference as he gave his best performance in a Saints shirt. The second row forward scored St Helens’ first try of the entire game just after the 50-minute mark, as he put in an accurate grubber kick to get around Jai Field. After St Helens found themselves two points behind in the 79th minute, Batchelor popped up to help his side again. He found himself in some space on the right-hand side, and used the dummy to fool the covering Liam Marshall, before sending Lomax over to win the game.

Ash Handley
In Leeds’ impressive dismantling of Castleford, Ash Handley was integral again. He scored the first try of the second half, which sparked an incredible half for Leeds, as they scored five tries. His most impressive contributions, however, came in defence. He chased down Jake Mamo when the game was in the balance to force a mistake that got his side off the hook. Towards the end of the second half, with the game already won, he seemed to come out of nowhere to stop Greg Eden racing away for a consolation try after a 50-metre chase which summed up his commitment.

Danny Levi
Huddersfield beat Salford despite a second half scare as Salford brought the game within six points. Levi caused Salford trouble all game, and made the most of any quick play the balls, scampering out of dummy half to make important metres. Understandably, a lot of credit has gone to Lolohea, Russell and McGillvary, but Levi’s work in the middle with an inexperienced front row made a huge difference.

Matty Nicholson
Nicholson enjoyed a dream debut as Warrington got a surprise win over Catalans. Warrington have been desperate for a win, and so to get one against a side that has been so strong this year will have boosted confidence massively. The same can be said of youngster Matty Nicholson’s confidence after he scored Warrington’s third try to put some daylight between the two sides. At just 18 years old, he has shown that he already has the quality to perform against top sides, and took carries bravely all game.

Ellis Longstaff
Another game winning youngster, Longstaff made his Hull FC debut in perfect fashion. With the game in the balance, he set Hull FC flying out the traps in the second half, scoring two tries in five minutes. A lot of the plaudits have gone to the sensational Mikey Lewis for his hat-trick, but Longstaff’s contribution should not go unnoticed. At just 20 years old, he showed intelligence to read his teammate’s intentions for both tries.

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