Super League Heroes – Craig Hall
Craig Hall was born in Hull in February 1988. His father David was a Hull Kingston Rovers stalwart of the 1970s and 1980s, playing in 383 games for the Robins.
Hall was a product of the Hull FC Academy, making his debt for Hull FC in 2007. The following season Hall made 25 appearances for the Black & Whites, scoring 15 tries. He had a short loan spell with the Widnes Vikings in 2009, but in 2010, he was again a regular at the KC, playing in 22 games. At the end of that season, after making 77 appearances for Hull FC over four seasons, in which he kicked 31 goals and scored 47 tries, he made the move to the east of the city to play for the Robins.
Hall made his Rovers debut at centre in place of the injured Jake Webster in a home defeat to Catalan in February 2011, playing in the next five games before losing his place after a 34-18 defeat at St Helens. He returned to the side at Wakefield at the beginning of May, again as a deputy for Webster, and made three move appearances in that position in June, before playing in the last four games of the season in the troublesome left wing position. Despite not winning a settled position in the side, Hall made 14 appearances, scoring seven tries and kicking 16 goals when Michael Dobson was injured in the early part of the season.
The arrival of Craig Sandercock for Hall’s second season, 2012, seemed to change his luck, and he played 22 games that season, mainly on the wing, but also six at centre and four at off-half. In 2013, despite still not being able to tie down a permanent position, Hall started in 26 of the 30 games, playing in every back position. Opportunities seemed harder to come by in 2014, and having started in just over only half of Rovers games, Hall left Rovers at the end of the season to try his luck at Wakefield.
After forty appearances in two seasons with the Wildcats, Hall was tempted by a completely new challenge, signing for Toronto Wolfpack, where he was made captain for their inaugural campaign in the Championship in 2017. From there he moved to Leigh Centurions to strengthen the Lancashire side’s promotion push in 2018. But by July, Leigh were in serious financial difficulties, and needed to move on a number of their players as a cost-cutting exercise. By that time, Rovers needed to strengthen their squad for the Super Eights qualifiers campaign, in order to retain their Super League place.
Hall and Leigh team-mate Ben Crooks joined the Robins on loan, and Hall made his return appearance in the final game of the regular season, appropriately against his first club, Hull FC, at the KC stadium. Within two minutes of the start, Hall had taken Maurice Blair’s pass to score in the corner, and after 24 minutes, he combined with Crooks to score a length of the field try after the home side had lost possession. Rovers led 16-0 at the break, and held off a second half fightback by FC to end a seven-match losing run in derby games. It was a fairytale return for Hall.
Then, in the Super Eights, playing in all seven games, Hall scored a further 12 tries, to finish as Rovers’ second top try scorer – just one behind Adam Quinlan, who had played in 27 games. At the start of 2019, having signed a two-year contract, Hall retained the wing position he had occupied at the end of the previous season. In late March, he moved to full-back, where he had an extended run until Quinlan returned from injury in June, and then ended the season on the wing.
At the end of the season, having been told that he was not in new coach Tony Smith’s plans, Hall followed assistant coach James Webster to Featherstone Rovers on a season-long loan deal. In all, Craig Hall played in 80 games for the Robins, in which he kicked 41 goals, two drop-goals, and scored 41 tries, for a total of 248 points. A very talented player, with a real turn of pace and the ability to do the unorthodox, Hall presented a real attacking threat. Perhaps, like several before him, his versatility counted against him in the end, as he was frequently moved from one back position to another to suit the needs of the team rather than the player. He was a crowd-pleaser, and many of the Craven Park faithful were sorry to see him move on.
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