ON THE back of his shock Great Britain call-up, Leeds Rhinos winger Ash Handley hopes to complete a dream week by earning another win tonight and taking a step closer to finishing as Super League’s top try-scorer.
Handley, 23, was a surprise pick in Wayne Bennett’s Lions performance squad on Monday given he has not even been considered by England yet and only represented England Knights for the first time last autumn.
However, it is a mark of how far he has come this term that the Leeds-born player is now in the reckoning for the tour of New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.
Prolific Handley has scored 22 times, despite playing for a team that has struggled for much of the year and only staved off the threat of relegation with Sunday’s win at London Broncos.
Rhinos host Salford Red Devils this evening who are hoping for a record-extending seventh successive Super League win. They have full-back Niall Evalds in their side, the dynamic full-back who – with 21 touchdowns – is Handley’s nearest challenger for top try-scorer heading into the penultimate round.
It’s not just about scoring tries, it is about other stuff in games as well and I just happen to be on the end of it.Ash Handley
“Hopefully I can get top spot, but you don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said, with St Helens duo Tommy Makinson (19 tries) and Regan Grace (18) also seeking to chase him down.
“I will just keep trying my best and hopefully I will end up there.
“I didn’t really set a target, I just wanted to play well.
“It’s not just about scoring tries, it is about other stuff in games as well and I just happen to be on the end of it.
“I am happy with how I have gone so far, but I look more at metres and carries and involvements in games. They have been up there as well so I am pleased with how it’s going.”
On his Lions selection, he added: “I’m surprised but honoured and happy.
“It’s a great experience to be involved in it. I’m still only young so it is good for me to be in that set-up and see what it’s like, even if I don’t end up going.
“I am really looking forward to getting involved with it.”