Three Castleford Tigers players included after their win over Warrington; Wigan Warriors, Leeds Rhinos, Catalans Dragons, Hull FC, Hull KR and St Helens also represented; watch Wigan vs Wakefield live on Sky Sports Arena on Thursday from 5.30pm
By Sky Sports Rugby League
Last Updated: 29/03/21 2:17pm
A host of players dazzled on debut as the Betfred Super League season began with a bang.
1. Zak Hardaker (Wigan)
Could we see Hardaker at full-back on a more regular basis this season? He seamlessly slotted back into the position in Bevan French’s absence against Leigh.
Hardaker scored a crucial second try on the stroke of half-time after good build-up by Jake Bibby and John Bateman, but it was his assist for Bibby’s second try that really caught the eye.
After expertly controlling Luke Wallace’s grubber, Hardaker set off from inside his own 20-metre line, beating four defenders as he sprinted downfield to the Leigh 20-metre line, where he offloaded to Bibby for the decisive score.
Hardaker edges out Niall Evalds and Sam Tomkins, who both impressed for Castleford and Catalans respectively.
2. Jordan Turner (Castleford)
The former Huddersfield and St Helens stand-off looked at home on the wing as he marked his Tigers debut with a double against Warrington.
Playing out of position due to injuries, Turner twice took passes from fellow debutant Niall Evalds and beat Josh Charnley to score in the corner.
Leeds Rhinos vs Castleford Tigers
April 2, 2021, 2:45pm
Turner made 200 metres from 19 carries and also worked hard in defence with 10 tackles, missing none. He edges out Tom Johnstone, who started the season in style with a double against Leeds.
3. Jack Broadbent (Leeds)
The impressive teenager scored his first Super League try in the Rhinos’ win over Wakefield.
It was a crucial score, too, the 19-year-old slicing through a gap after taking Richie Myler’s pass to restore Leeds’ advantage with 20 minutes remaining.
Broadbent had a hand in Alex Sutcliffe’s first-half try, his break putting Leeds in scoring range, while he also popped up with a vital interception late on. He made 17 carries for 141 metres and chipped in with 13 tackles.
4. Mathieu Laguerre (Catalans)
Laguerre also enjoyed a debut to remember as he produced a man-of-the-match performance against Hull KR.
Three Robins defenders couldn’t prevent the 22-year-old from throwing a brilliant offload to tee up Matt Whitley for a try, and he was in the right place to take Sam Tomkins’ pass and cross for an easy score.
5. Ryan Hall (Hull KR)
Now that’s how you mark your return to Super League! After two frustrating years in the NRL, Hall got back to doing what he does best with a debut hat-trick.
The England winger opened his Hull KR account when he pounced on a loose ball and sprinted through from 40 metres, and he scored his second on 56 minutes as Rovers launched an incredible fightback.
Hull K R vs St Helens
April 1, 2021, 8:00pm
Hall completed his hat-trick with nine minutes remaining after chasing Jordan Abdull’s kick, taking his Super League tries tally to 199.
6. Josh Reynolds (Hull FC)
Another debutant who collected the man-of-the-match award was Reynolds after he helped Hull FC to an impressive win over Huddersfield.
The Australian said post-match that he felt below his best but he had a hand in Josh Griffin’s try and crossed for Hull’s third on the hour mark. If this is a below-par performance in Reynolds’ eyes then Hull fans are in for a treat this season.
Jonny Lomax also shone for St Helens.
7. Harry Smith (Wigan)
Smith was central as Wigan mounted a stirring fightback against Leigh and he sent a rampaging Joe Bullock over for their third try.
It was an impressive display by the 21-year-old, particularly in the final quarter. His post-match interviews require some work, however…
8. Alex Walmsley (St Helens)
The powerful prop capped off a fine first outing with Saints’ final try against Salford.
Walmsley set the tone with some big carries early on, punching holes in the Red Devils’ defence. He made 20 carries and 26 tackles, and nonchalantly brushed off three Salford defenders to score his late try.
9. Paul McShane (Castleford)
The reigning Man of Steel began the new season in style, helping Castleford to a big win over Warrington.
McShane switched from hooker to half-back after Gareth O’Brien was forced off and expertly led the Tigers in attack, kicking a late drop-goal to secure victory.
He also carried for over 100 metres and made 28 tackles, missing just one.
10. Ligi Sao (Hull FC)
The Samoa prop laid the platform in attack against Huddersfield with some powerful carries through the middle while his ball steal on Leroy Cudjoe resulted in a try for Josh Griffin.
11. Alrix Da Costa (Catalans)
The 23-year-old topped the tackle charts with 51 as Catalans claimed a golden-point extra-time triumph.
12. Oliver Holmes (Castleford)
Holmes’ perseverance paid off for their opening try against Warrington, the second-rower in the right place to punish a handling error by Josh Charnley.
It marked the beginning of a standout display by the 28-year-old.
13. Zane Tetevano (Leeds)
The New Zealand international hit the ground running with the Rhinos, despite his lack of pre-season action.
Tetevano made 30 tackles, missing none, and racked up almost 100 metres with ball in hand courtesy of some powerful carries.