Super League’s top try scorer has sympathy with Premier League goal scorers

Leeds Rhinos star Ash Handley says he has sympathy for football’s elite players following a clamp down on post goal celebrations. 

Handley was the top try scorer in the Betfred Super League last season with twenty tries in all competitions including two at Wembley as the Rhinos won the Challenge Cup. Following the first national lockdown and the return to action, Super League players were told they could not celebrate after tries with fines in place for those who were caught on camera doing so. 

As the leading try scorer in the game, Handley took his fair share of early hits to the wallet as the players got used to the new regulations. The Aston Villa fan commented, “I do feel for the footballers because it is your natural instinct to celebrate after you score, it’s something you have done since you were a kid in the back garden. 

“It took us a few games to get used to it. Luke Gale used to always jump on my back so I would get fined, in the end I couldn’t afford it any more so I made sure we stopped doing it!” joked Handley. 

The England squad member says eventually it became second nature to not celebrate like ‘normal’ even on the biggest possible stage, Wembley Stadium. He recalled, “When I scored my first try in the Challenge Cup Final, it was early in the match so you don’t normally celebrate too much anyway because there is a long way to go, we just did a couple of fist pumps. My second levelled the match at 16-16 with 15 minutes to go and I was knackered so just stayed down on the floor for a bit longer than normal. I suppose in previous years everyone would have dived on me but you just get on with your next job.”

Whilst the lack of celebrations has taken some of the theatre out of the tries, Handley says the players are aware of why they need to do it. He added, “We have to do these things as it is for the safety of all our health and we have to do that. When you are in a game, you are not always thinking too much, you are in the zone but I am sure everyone will get used to it.”