Hat-trick heroes but not happy memories
Try hat-tricks are supposed to be joyous occasions – but for all three NRL stars who scored them at the weekend, there was little to cheer about.
Contrary to what most people thought at first, the efforts of Edrick Lee (three tries), Konrad Hurrell (three) and David Williams (four) was nothing unusual in a weekend of football.
In fact, it has already happened this year, in round nine.
But what was unusual was the reactions of the three players afterwards. All three of their teams won yet it seemed the figurative hat in which the trick has been scored was being stomped on by the magician as soon as the show was over.
Canberra winger Edrick Lee, a star of the 40-12 win over Melbourne at AAMI Park on Saturday, is still grieving after the loss of a family member (whose name he has asked is withheld) three weeks ago.
He told the Canberra Times over the weekend: ''It was pretty hard leading up to the game [against the Cowboys], but as the game went on I tried not to think about it,'' Lee said.
''Family are really close to you and they're the ones that give you inspiration and drive to go forward.
''To lose them is really tough.''
Later that night Warrior Konrad Hurrell also posted three – before coming off with an ankle injury, which has him in danger of missing Friday’s appointment with Brisbane, in the 55th minute.
More testing times were to follow in the sheds when team-mates Lewis Brown, Feleti Mateo and Sione Lousi joined a circle of pressmen and started hurling questions at the quietly spoken 20-year-old.
“I just put the ball down, it’s the hard work of the 12 other boys,” Hurrell began, in regulation fashion.
Then came a question from the back. “Is it true you’re nicknamed Kon-Crete?” said Lousi. “Or is it Big Strong K?” Mateo filmed the ordeal on his iphone.
Hurrell – who team-mates say is a character at training but remains shy with the media – smiled nervously, saying: “C’mon boys, I’m sweating. Give me a break. Haha.”
And David Williams? He joined a very select group of Sea Eagles to post four touchdowns in a game when his side won 40-24 at Brookvale on Sunday but, given it was 34-0 at half-time, he struggled to raise a smile when the siren sounded.
“It was alright,” he deadpanned.
“I had to make up for a few weeks off but I’m pretty disappointed with that second half. It’s not really fitting to the day it should have been here.
“Our defence was really down in the dumps. I think it will be a long week doing the wrestling.
“I don’t think we were showing a lot in attack either – a lot of dropped balls, a lot of throwing it out our backsides.
“You can’t play like that going into the finals.
“I’m pretty glad (I scored four) in the first half because I did bugger all in the second.”
For flashy outside backs, scoring tries is perhaps not such a big deal if other things are going wrong. Forwards think differently. For Warriors captain Simon Mannering, a hat-trick is not to be taken for granted. He found touchdowns a lot harder to come by than Hurrell when he switched from rugby union.
“I think I did the nudy run the first two years,” he recalled wryly.