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Field of Dreams: Ex-Parra and Dragons star ripping up Super League

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20th February, 2022
11

Jai Field’s first season in British rugby league turned into a nightmare but now the Australian has become the overnight toast of the Super League.

Field, the one-time Parramatta Eels and St George Illawarra utility back, made a try-saving tackle and scored a hat-trick of tries in a dazzling breakthrough performance for England’s most famous club, Wigan.

His tour de force on Friday night featured two brilliant solo efforts in Wigan’s 34-12 hammering of Leeds in one of the Super League’s marquee match-ups.

The Wollongong flyer’s match-winning display made him the toast of social media, with everyone from former World Cup rugby winner Jason Robinson to Wigan-supporting golf star Lee Westwood singing his praises.

“Jai Field’s on fire,” tweeted Robinson, after watching Field score his third try from 80 metres out with a dazzling solo tour de force that reminded Wigan fans of Robinson himself in his twinkle-footed heyday.

Another mesmerising slalom to the line for his second, and a bit of luck to pounce on a loose ball and go over for his first marked another terrific display from Field, who had opened the season with a try against Hull KR and another man-of-the-match award.

Yet his most significant jet-heeled contribution, reckoned Wigan coach Matt Peet, happened even before his try-scoring exploits with his cross-field sprint and perfectly timed tackle to prevent Liam Tindall going over for a try for Leeds.

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It was all a far cry from the 24-year-old’s wretched 2021 campaign which began with a serious hamstring injury just 19 minutes into Field’s debut that set the tone for an injury-wrecked first season in which he played just four matches.

Ironically, Field had only been filling in at fullback on Friday because his compatriot Bevan French, a hero at Wigan, had been given compassionate leave by the club to spend more time in Australia following the death of his mother.

“It’s nice to score tries and to receive offloads at fullback,” reckoned the modest Field, who is tipped to form a potentially devastating combination with French for Wigan after last season’s “write-off”.

“You want to be around the lads who can do that, and they gave me two opportunities to be in space, so it was good to finish them off.”

Field’s performance outshone that of Leeds’ new Australian recruit Aidan Sezer, who did land a couple of goals in their second straight defeat, and coach Peet felt it was a reward for him having stayed in the UK over Christmas to work on his fitness instead of flying home for a break.

© AAP

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