‘Powerhouse’ Umyla Hanley impresses Leigh Leopards boss in prolific try-scoring stint

HUNGRY Leopard Umyla Hanley will be sharpening his claws at the prospect of Leigh’s next Challenge Cup assignment.

The holders head to Hull KR, the team they edged out in the final at Wembley last year, in the quarter-finals the weekend after next after passing a tricky sixth-round test against old foes Featherstone.

Hanley claimed a hat-trick of tries from the wing in a 26-14 home win for Adrian Lam’s side and he followed it with a second successive hat-trick of tries against Salford on Saturday, despite the Leopards going down 32-22.

That impressive scoring record is another sign of the growing influence of the versatile 22-year-old, who was handed his senior debut by Lam when both were at Wigan.

Hanley has inevitably been compared with his father and all-time Rugby League great Ellery, a four-time Challenge Cup winner with Wigan.

But he has patiently forged his own career path after coming through the Wigan development system to make eleven first-team appearances, the first in 2020.

Hanley has had experience-gaining spells at Newcastle and Rochdale, and having joined Leigh ahead of last season, played twice in 2023.

He was in the Leopards’ non-playing squad for the Challenge Cup final, in which Hull KR were beaten on golden point.

But he has been busy this season, scoring against both Leeds and Hull FC before his two try-scoring trebles.

“His (Hanley’s) work rate is incredible at the moment and he’s an absolute powerhouse,” said Lam.

Leigh’s immediate priority is Thursday’s home Super League derby against Wigan.

Having reached the play-offs last year, Lam’s side have just one win from five in the league this time.

“It’s been frustrating because we haven’t been able to nail that consistency we need,” said Lam.

“We had a great performance in the league against Hull (where his side won 54-4), but then made too many mistakes against Featherstone.”

Centre Ricky Leutele added: “We’re still on a learning curve, but we’re still in the Challenge Cup, which is great.”