NRL misses shot at England flyer
England's greatest ever try-scorer Ryan Hall has revealed his desire to test himself in the NRL but concedes he may have missed his chance having signed a long-term deal to stay with Leeds in the Super League.
With 21 tries from 21 Test caps Hall will line up on the left wing opposite a Kangaroos winger with either one or no Test appearances as the English seek to end Australia's Four Nations campaign in Melbourne on Sunday.
On the back of one of his customary bullocking runs from deep inside his own half last week against Samoa, Brad Fittler and Andrew Johns both spoke in commentary of how well-suited Hall would be to the demands of playing in the NRL.
The scorer of eight tries in five games in last year's World Cup is open to the idea, but there is one significant stumbling block: A five-year contract with Leeds that doesn't run out until the end of the 2018 Super League season.
By that stage Hall will be sitting just on the wrong side of 30 but insisted that if an NRL club was to come calling, it is a move he would genuinely consider.
"Because I've always had long contracts and they keep topping me up, there's never been real direct interest from the Aussies coming over so I've never really been approached but I suppose if I would delve into it it would be something I'd consider," said Hall, who has scored 174 tries in 216 top-grade appearances with Leeds since making his debut in 2007.
"I won't lie, I'd love to come over here. It's a competition that's very attractive and the English players that we've seen come over the last few years and made quite a success of it as well like the Burgess boys so it's really attractive for English players to come out and I'm certainly interested.
"But as it happens, I've signed a long-term deal at Leeds, hometown club, it's an honour to play for them and we've been a successful club as well so you kind of want to stick with that success. That made it easy for me to stay at Leeds."
In the modern age when athletes appear more and more intent on testing their athletic prowess across a range of sports, there was speculation prior to signing his latest contract with Leeds that Hall would also be a target of rugby union.
Instead he chose to stay loyal but dismissed the suggestion that sticking to the status quo was the easy option.
"That creates a challenge in itself. I know I said it's easy to stay at Leeds but every year because there's so much pressure on us to win something it's a challenge in itself to keep producing, and to be fair, we have done so far," said the 26-year-old.
"I am one of those lads that like to back themselves so you never know in the future. You never say never to anything. If my body keeps good, you never know what might happen in the future."
Due to be married at the end of the year and with a two-year-old son, Hall was only convinced to take up rugby league by the father of one of his mates who coached the local junior team.
Academically gifted enough to be offered the opportunity to study mathematics at university, Hall discovered a new passion as soon as he switched from "football" to "rugby" and quickly progressed up the ranks.
He now gets the opportunity to take the young Aussie wingers to school on what it takes to succeed at international level and with a determination to increase his involvement from last week's effort against Samoa.
Hall's 13 runs against Samoa were few yet effective, yielding 117 metres and seven tackle breaks and even though those numbers may be down on his normal output, he said that he won't be drawn in off his wing simply to get his hands on the ball.
"You've just got to be smart. As a winger you've got to know when you're needed and when you're not," said Hall, who is yet to register a win against the Kangaroos in five previous attempts.
"There's no point running around like a headless chicken just because you're not doing anything because that's a negative and won't improve anything. You've got to pick your time and I'm quite experienced now, this is my fifth year playing for England, so I know when I'm needed and when I'm not so I'm not too worried about that but hopefully things will change this weekend.
"You've got to take it with a bit of pinch of salt. You've got to realise when stats are going to favour you and when they're not. The type of game, the amount of work I did suggested to me that my stats would have been down but I'm not going to read too much into the stats this weekend."