Ryan Hall plotting Hull KR victory on sentimental return to his old Leeds Rhinos stomping ground

IT SEEMS strange given he spent 12 years of his career there but Ryan Hall is relishing going back to Emerald Headingley on Saturday – just to see what it looks like.

Hull KR's Ryan Hall (Picture: Jack Wray/Super League Europe/via SWpix.com)

The England winger will make his competitive Super League debut for Hull KR in the Robins’ Betfred Super League season opener against Catalans Dragons.

Hall scored 233 tries in 330 games for Leeds and won six Grand Finals with his hometown club before moving to Sydney Roosters at the end of 2018.

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“It’s great going back to Headingley to play but it’ll be good just to see what it’s looking like,” he said, with the famous stadium’s £45m redevelopment occurring when he was in Australia.

“I saw all the plans when I was at Rhinos but I’ve not seen it in person and it’s all been finished since I was away.

“After all the years I spent there, it will be nice to see how it looks. But we’re not playing Leeds or anything – it’s just the venue for this game due to the Covid situation.

“My only focus is going as well as I can on my debut for Hull KR.

“We’ll cross the playing Leeds bridge when we come to it.”

Ryan Hall is back in Super League (Picture: Jack Wray/Super League Europe/via SWpix.com)

Admittedly, it will be strange to see Hall running out at an empty Headingley in the red and white of Rovers.

Many Leeds fans would have imagined him one day returning in the blue and amber.

Hall conceded: “Every time you think of the future, you think of the fairytale don’t you?

“I had some great memories there, made some great friends on and off the field, and you do sort of picture yourself going straight back there.

Hull KR's Ryan Hall is tackled by Castleford's Niall Evalds & Derrell Olpherts during a pre-season game (Picture: SWPix.com)

“But things change. Two years went by and I didn’t end up going back. I’m a Hull KR player now and I’m looking forward to this first game of the season with them.

“We’ve done the pre-season and you’re always full of hope at this point. It’s gone pretty well so far and now we’re just waiting to see how it translates out on the playing field.

“Hopefully we’ll start well against Catalans and continue to grow.”

Two bad injuries prevented Hall making his mark in the NRL.

He was limited to just 11 appearances and, remarkably given his prowess and the champion side he was in, he also failed to score a single try.

However, the 33-year-old is fit now and KR coach Tony Smith hopes he will bring his size and presence out of back field.

Catalans’ Sam Tomkins, Hall’s former England team-mate, this week backed him to recapture his devastating best form and Dragons chief Steve McNamara hailed him as one of his favourite players to coach when he was in charge of the national side.

Rovers’ left-edge certainly packs a punch with ex-Kiwi star Shaun Kenny-Dowall at centre.

Hall said: “He’s vastly experienced and like me he’s played a lot of internationals.

“He’s played all those matches in the NRL, too, and been made captain at KR after a year so you know he’s done something right.

“It’s good knowing I’ve got that sort of calibre of player inside me and hopefully we can develop that partnership as this season goes on.”

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