Talking points: What have I learned this week?

Dave Parkinson returns with his own little take on the week in rugby league.

Walker set for big future

Leeds youngster Jack Walker looks a very useful player indeed. The teenage full-back stepped in to play the role against St Helens on Thursday night and gave an intelligent and composed display.

With Ashton Golding continuing to develop, the next few years will be interesting to see which full-back rises to the top or whether there is space for both of them.

Garbutt is arguably the best prop in Super League

I’ve kept a close eye on Mitch Garbutt’s stats all year and he is extremely consistent. Against St Helens he was immense, making 153 metres from 18 carries. During the whole season the metre chewing prop has ran for over 2,000, averaging 8.48 per carry, only second to the ever sprightly Rob Burrow.

Hull will have a say in the destination of the Super League crown

They may have imploded after winning the Challenge Cup last year but Hull are certainly in the thick of things again. After 55 minutes they were well out of the game at Castleford Tigers on Friday, but rallied superbly to leave the hosts clinging on to victory. With a better first half who knows what would have happened at the Jungle?

100 up for Matty Dawson and Ben Crooks

Despite a disappointing trip to Catalans for Leigh Centurions, Dawson and Crooks who currently play for the Sports Village based side played the 100th game of their respective first team careers. Here’s to the next hundred lads!

An eighty minute performance is needed to beat Catalans on their home ground

Leigh came close – 79 minutes and 50 seconds but Catalans again proved a formidable opponent at Stade Gilbert Brutus, winning 40-36 thanks to a late, late Julian Bousquet try.

Thornhill have one of the most challenging playing fields in the game

Amateur side Thornhill Trojans in National Conference Division Two have a pitch that seems to slope in all directions. Leigh East played at Overthorpe Park on Saturday and held an 18-16 half-time lead before being overpowered in the second half with the hosts winning 36-24.

Halifax are back in the hunt for a spot in the Super League Qualifiers

The Shay side will have to be more consistent and smarten their act in certain areas but their 20-18 win against Bradford, allied with Oldham’s shock win over Toulouse, gives them plenty of hope of securing a top four Championship finish.

Steve Tyrer is still one of the best goal-kickers in GB

The Halifax centre has had a good season so far for Fax and his four goals took him to 2,000 points in a career that began at St Helens in 2005.

We’ll hear more from Tyrer (pictured) over the next couple of days.

Bradford have some excellent young players

The Bulls came back against the odds to push Halifax close and certainly made things interesting! After picking up two game ending injuries to forwards everyone dug in to put in a brave showing against Halifax.

They could have capitulated at 14-0 and then 20-6 but stuck to their task to then leave Halifax hoping for the final whistle.

Reiss Butterworth, James Bentley and Ethan Ryan are exciting talents and will each go on to have a real impact on the game. One player that impressed me, and he’s been around a little while now despite tender years is Vila Halifihi. He kick-started the Bulls revival with a storming try.

Always be prepared

Having been sunburned this weekend I need to remember to pack suntan lotion.

In other news North Wales Crusaders team bus broke down on the way to Oxford. The team had to wait for a replacement to arrive to then take them onto Tilsley Park.

Despite this, they still won 52-20.

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