IT was perhaps inevitable that, just days after announcing he was leaving Hull KR, Craig Hall would score his first hat-trick for the club he has supported since childhood.
The centre’s stunning treble was a cornerstone of Sunday’s epic 40-10 win over Super League leaders St Helens.
He is destined for Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in 2015 and, though it was never needed, it proved a perfect way to reinforce his commitment to the cause.
It also stole some of the limelight from colleague Omari Caro who, having earned his first appearance since Easter Monday, must have thought he had the man-of-the-match award secured himself after going in for his own hat-trick try as early as the 58th minute.
“I’ve not got a Hull KR trick before so there was no chance I wasn’t going to get it,” Hall told The Yorkshire Sport, as the East Yorkshire club also responded positively in their first game since the sacking of head coach Craig Sandercock on Thursday.
“It was great to do that and get my first but the fans – both sets – have been brilliant.
“The Rovers fans have been brilliant to me for all the last four years since I joined from Hull. There’s no doubting that. And there’s been a good response from the Wakey supporters, too.
“I told all the lads earlier in the week – and they weren’t bothered. Seriously, though, I think they knew it was more a business thing than rugby.
“It’s going to be upsetting towards the back end of the year but I’ve some time left to play some good rugby first.”
If the convincing win over the leading side in the competition is anything to go by, Rovers are more than capable of producing further quality.
The success lifted them to within just one point of Widnes Vikings in the coveted eighth spot and the play-off target is very much alive.
It was the perfect start for Chris Chester, the 35-year-old assistant promoted to the main role at least until the end of the season following Sandercock’s demise.
“I was definitely surprised,” admitted Hall, about the sacking of the Australian.
“But it’s one of those things and you have to take it on the chin. We now have to carry the performance on from Sunday for the rest of the year.
“It had been an up-and-down week but we came in on Saturday, had a good performance in training and it came onto the park during the match. Everyone from one to 17 was brilliant.
“Sometimes it’s hard to pick a man of the match as we’ve not been putting those performances in, but to pick one from the 17 on Sunday was hard as there was so many to go from.”
Hall, 26, admits Chester had given the side, which had lost three of their previous four games, an instant shot of confidence “One of the main things was getting a bit of belief in ourselves,” he said. “A lot of people stepped up; Aaron Ollett was outstanding throughout, James Green came of the bench and played real well and Greg (Eden) out the back was obviously great, too.
“He definitely had his best game of the year but we have to keep positive for the rest of the week. What’s done off the field is done. It’s all about us and what we’ve got in the changing room. We just need to be positive.”
In the meantime, it remains to be seen where Hall, a skilful utility player who has also played full-back, wing and – perhaps most convincingly – half-back for Rovers, will play when he arrives at Wakefield on a two-year deal.
“I’m not sure yet,” he added. “I’ve spoken to (Trinity coach) James (Webster) and he said we’ll talk about it in pre-season.
“Hopefully I can take some good form here into Wakey.
“We’re at Leeds on Friday and it’s always difficult there; they are a quality, champion team.
“We’ve not played them since round one when we were upset with that (34-6 loss) and our second-half performance wasn’t good enough.
“But hopefully we’ll take what we did against Saints into that and get the result.”