Five underappreciated performances from this weekend’s Challenge Cup action

As eight sides fought for the four spots available in the Challenge Cup semi-finals, there was plenty of quality on show with the likes of Tui Lolohea and Jai Field grabbing headlines.

But this list looks at just five of the players were a key part of their side’s performances, but may not have got the same recognition and credit as other players.

So, here’s our five underappreciated performers from this weekend’s action.

Jack Welsby
In a huge fixture that saw Saints brush past Catalans, youngster Jack Welsby helped his side as they put on an impressive performance. When Saints were on the back foot at the start of the game, a kick return from Welsby saw him make plenty of metres for his side which led to a try. They went on to blow Catalans away in a purple patch that Welsby played a big part in to put hopes of a comeback out of sight for the Dragons.

Tommy Leuluai
Leuluai is probably the best tackler when it comes to halfbacks in the Super League era, and his performance against Wakefield served as a great reminder. When his side were pinned back, he made some huge tackles on much bigger runners to slow Wakefield’s momentum and allow Wigan to keep their defensive shape. He then went on to dance through the Wakefield line before offloading to Ethan Havard who crashed over to swing momentum back in his side’s favour. The veteran halfback put on a professional display all game as Wigan progressed into the final four.

Chris Satae
For the second week in a row, Chris Satae has put on a strong display in a narrow defeat. The Tongan prop helped his side against a very strong Huddersfield pack as he did his best to keep his side in the tie. His direct and powerful runs helped put his side on the front foot for short periods, and although it was not enough to get his side to a semi-final, he did not deserve to come out on the losing side.

Ryan Hall
Every week Ryan Hall shows that he remains a quality winger despite being in the 16th season of his career. The powerhouse claimed yet another try against Castleford in a fantastic performance. He was relentless all night as he made metres and did the hard yards carrying the ball out of his own half. Hall used his size and power to his side’s advantage, making carries into the heart of Castleford’s defence which made life difficult for the visitors and helped Hull KR comfortably win.

John Bateman
Despite having to move to centre midway through the contest, John Bateman was not fazed by the positional change. He terrorised Wakefield’s left edge, constantly looking to find offloads and tackle busts to leave the Wakefield line in disarray. He made strong carries as you would expect from Bateman, but he also showed great skill, providing a perfect offload to set up a try to turn the screw against a defeated Wakefield.

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