St Helens boss explains why Konrad Hurrell excelled in emphatic win over former club Leeds Rhinos

The Tongan powerhouse, who spent three seasons with the Rhinos, scored a brace of tries in a St Helens’ 42-12 triumph.

<p>Konrad Hurrell scored twice against his former club Leeds. </p>

Konrad Hurrell scored twice against his former club Leeds.

Life is a bed of roses at this moment in time for St Helens centre Konrad Hurrell and being happy and content is one of the main reasons for his current rich vein of form.

Some people questioned coach Kristian Woolf’s decision to snap up the Tongan international from Leeds on a contract which a few weeks ago was extended to the end of 2023.

The Tongan powerhouse, who spent three seasons with the Rhinos, has enjoyed a new lease of life since his move and helped put his old club to the sword at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Thursday, scoring a brace of tries to keep Saints at the top of the Betfred Super League table.

The final 42-12 scoreline may have flattered the defending champions against a Leeds’ outfit which went into the match fielding arguably their strongest squad of the season, but they were eventually blown away by a rampant St Helens side.

St Helens celebrate Konrad Hurrell's first try. (Picture: SWPix.com)

“I never had any doubt about him,” Woolf said. “I know what sort of character he is and what sort of a person he is.

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“I know he’s a bloke that helps your team enjoy their footy but he does it the right way, by working hard.

“He’s fit, happy and confident and playing great footy and he’s still going to get better.”

Hurrell will be pushing for a spot in Woolf’s Tonga squad for the end-of-season World Cup, along with his Saints’ team-mates Ignatius Paasi, who scored his first Super League try on Thursday night, and Will Hopoate, who missed the game through injury.

Woolf, who put his club before country by missing Tonga’s mid-season Test against New Zealand this weekend, said: “I thought it was a tough game of footy. They came to play and really challenged us.

“I was really happy with the way we stayed disciplined and didn’t allow ourselves to get frustrated. That meant we were able to find plenty of points at the back end.

“We stayed patient and kept attacking.”

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England prop Alex Walmsley also touched down twice as Saints ran in 16 points in the last 14 minutes against the fast-fading visitors.

Leeds’ misery was compounded by the 76th-minute dismissal of forward Zane Tetevano for a high tackle on Hurrell, in addition to the earlier sin-binning of Bodene Thompson.

And they finished with 11 men when former Saints, second rower James Bentley, fresh from completing a third ban of the season, was given a yellow card for delaying a play-the-ball.

“I thought Bodene got caught off balance,” said Leeds coach Rohan Smith.

“The tackle on Hurrell looked spectacular but I haven’t seen the point of contact, I was trying to make an interchange at the time.

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“I don’t know what happened with Bentley, I didn’t see it.”

Leeds were in touch at half-time thanks to a try from centre Harry Newman, whose classy performance in only his third appearance of the season was the highlight of their performance.

“He showed what he can do,” Smith said. “He attacked the ball and played with high energy. It was an impressive first 80 minute-performance of the season from him, a positive.

“There were plenty of things I liked. We came to play and had a good crack. We stretched them a few times early in the piece.

“At half-time I didn’t think the score was reflective and I thought at 20-12 it was game on but we lost a bit of composure at the back end.”

Saints team: Jonathan Bennison, Tommy Makinson, Konrad Hurrell, Ben Davies, Regan Grace, Jack Welsby, Jonny Lomax, Alex Walmsley, James Roby, Matty Lees, Joe Batchelor,Curtis Sironen, Morgan Knowles.

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Interchanges: Joey Lussick, Agnatius Paasi, Jake Wingfield, Dan Norman.

Tries: Konrad Hurrell (9, 44), Alex Walmsley (17, 79), Regan Grace (35), Agnatius Paasi (57), Joe Batchelor (67), Dan Norman (73)

Conversions: Tommy Makinson (5 from 8)

Leeds Rhinos team: Zak Hardaker, David Fusitu’a, Harry Newman, Rhyse Martin, Ash Handley, Blake Austin, Aidan Sezer, Mikolaj Oledzki, Kruise Leeming, Matt Prior, James Bentley, Bodene Thompson, James Donaldson.

Interchanges: Zane Tetevano, Sam Walters, Richie Myler, Jarrod O’Connor.

Tries: Harry Newman (23), Bodene Thompson (53)

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Conversions: Rhyse Martin (2 from 2)

Sin Bin: Bodene Thompson (64), James Bentley (78)

Red card: Zane Tetevano (76)

HT: 16-6

FT: 42-12

Attendance: 11,628