Magic Weekends have a tendency of bringing out the best in certain individuals. Over the years we have seen some exceptional individual displays, and no, we’re not talking about Steve Ganson in 2007, Leeds fans.
The sublime surroundings at St James’ Park were relished by the majority of teams over the weekend, but in and amongst were some outstanding solo displays. Here’s a look at this week’s Rugby Leaguer and League Express gamestars.
Widnes vs Salford
There were a number of superb performers in Widnes’ ranks, with Willie Isa particularly impressive, but in Kevin Brown, Widnes have a man who just keeps giving. Brown stole the show with a hat-trick on his return to the side from illness, however his treble wasn’t the only part of his game that left head coach Dennis Betts purring.
Brown really does do everything for his team, with his tally of 16 carries the third highest in the Widnes ranks. He made more breaks than anyone else, made over 100 metres and completed 15 tackles from half-back, an outstanding performance.
Hull FC vs Hull Kingston Rovers
A hat-trick of tries would usually cement you as the gamestar, but poor Fetuli Talanoa has been knocked off that perch by teammate Danny Houghton.
Houghton is consistently one of the best defenders in the competition every single week, and this match was no different. Houghton made 37 tackles, 13 more than his nearest teammate, Gareth Ellis. It isn’t just his defensive abilities that make him so important to the Airlie Birds, however. He impressively made 133 metres in the match and caused panic in the Rovers defence with a fair share of his 99 passes.
Leeds vs Wigan
With a mammoth 211 metres gained, it would be foolish to bet against Matty Bowen being the gamestar.
Foolish we were, however, as George Williams ultimately picked up the gong in Saturday’s showcase game.
On first glance, Williams’ stats are steady rather than spectacular, but the contributions he did make were crucial. He made more line breaks than anyone else, completed 20 tackles and gained over 100 metres for his team. Shaun Wane commented on Williams’ impressive game management, vindicating the decision to make Williams the gamestar.
Huddersfield vs Catalans
That Carney fella isn’t too bad, is he?
Catalans have been OK without the Australian half-back, but it’s indisputable that when he is on the pitch, the Dragons are a much scarier force to deal with.
Overshadowing the fact he scored two tries, he breached Huddersfield’s sturdy defence on two occasions, and generally troubled the Giants throughout. Laurent Frayssinous shall be praying that the injury he suffered late in the game isn’t too serious.
St Helens vs Warrington
Arguably the most complete performance of the whole weekend came courtesy of James Roby.
None of his individual stats were incredible, but he was in the upper echelons of almost all departments, with 36 tackles, 104 passes, 17 carries and 132 metres made. Roby is often appreciated but rarely admired, however with performances like this the norm from the hooker, he should probably get more recognition than he does.
Castleford vs Wakefield
Wakefield’s defence can be frail, but few have tortured it like Denny Solomona did.
The winger was in sublime form as he raced in four tries, the highest total of the weekend. However, he did so much more than finish off a couple of classy Cas moves.
He made an incredible 191 metres in the match, made 16 carries and split the defence 3 times. Still only 21, Magic Weekend 2015 could prove to be Solomona’s breakout moment.
For more insight into the Magic Weekend, buy this week’s edition of League Express.
Credit goes to optasports.com for providing these stats.