Home Timber and Hardware Hard Plays of the Month: April
We are getting closer to the colder months but the players are doing everything they can to heat it up. Here are Home Timber and Hardware's Hard Plays of the Month for April.
The early Bird
Jack Bird has had a remarkable start to his NRL career, bursting onto the scene with a mano-of-the-match performance in just his second game and becoming an instant hit with the NRL Fantasy community. His first try against the Roosters was an amazing training ground move executed to perfection with an exchange of passes from Jeff Robson and Luke Lewis to Bird slicing the renowned Tricolours defence to smithereens. Bird's pace did the rest, breaking Roger Tuivasa-Sheck's cover attempt to put an exclamation mark on the start to his NRL career.
Richards freak show continues
How good is Pat Richards going? He made our plays of the month in February for his massive game-winning field goal and he was at it again in April with a freaky piece of skill to set up another Wests Tigers try. Tip-toeing down the sideline, Richards was tackled and instinctively managed to kick the ball before he was bundled into touch. Of course the kick landing perfectly for James Tedesco to score. What else would you expect from the player the Concord boys have dubbed 'Iceman'.
Ben hunts golden try
Ben Hunt had a massive year in 2014, earning a call-up to the Kangaroos as a result. The 2008 NYC player of the year had a slow start to the 2015 season, but that all changed with a dynamic, match-winning performance against the Roosters. Hunt was everywhere, but it was his try in golden point that stole the show. Hunt did it all himself to break the line and then dummy past Roger Tuivasa-Sheck to secure his team the win in dramatic circumstances.
Manu equals and then breaks the record
Manu Vatuvei is one of New Zealand rugby league's greatest ever players. A cult figure since making his debut in 2004, the big winger recently notched up his 200th NRL game, and also managed to break Nigel Vagana's record for most tries by a Kiwi in the NRL. We are tipping there are still plenty more to come for 'the Beast'.
Cooper's field day
Cooper Cronk is no stranger to clutch plays. The Kangaroos, Maroons and Storm halfback has a cool head and knows how to get the job done, as he proved again against the Roosters in an epic encounter at AAMI Park. With the clock winding down and the game hanging in the balance after two dramatic sideline conversions, Cronk calmly stepped up and nailed the match-winning field goal.
Naiqama channels Superman
He turned heads with his new haircut, but it was his performance against the Bulldogs that solidified Kevin Naiqama's place on highlight reels for years to come. The 26-year-old came up with one of the greatest try assists you are likely to see when he threw himself over the dead-ball line, and somehow managed to flick pass the Steeden back behind him to the welcoming arms of James Tedesco. It was absolutely brilliant and was picked up by sporting networks all over the world.