SHAUN LUNT has just thrown down the gauntlet in the challenge to be the Giants’ top tryscorer in 2009.
At the start of the season, winger David Hodgson was proving the major force.
Thanks to a hat trick in the narrow Super League win at Castleford, the 27-year-old England international raced ahead in the charts and still leads the way with 10.
But in the last couple of weeks, young hooker Lunt has come to the fore, with five tries in the last two games (a hat trick in last week’s Challenge Cup and two in the League win over Celtic Crusaders the week before) catapulting him up to eight for the year.
Yet that impressive statistic shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise.
The 22-year-old arrived at the Galpharm from Workington Town at the end of last season on the back of being crowned the National League Young Player of the Year in 2006 and 2007, thanks mainly to his eye-catching tryscoring achievements.
During his time in his native Cumbria, his strike rate was a superb 57 tries in just 73 appearances, and it’s obvious he has had little trouble taking that natural eye for the tryline up into the Super League environment.
And it’s something that has made a positive impact on head coach – and fellow former hooker – Nathan Brown.
“Shaun’s obviously been making a positive impression on the tryscoring front, and it’s good to see,” said Brown.
“Tryscoring is a bit of an art and there’s no doubt he’s a player who knows the way to the tryline.
“He scored a lot of tries in the last couple of years with Workington Town and I’m delighted to see he’s brought that form with him to us.
“But scoring tries isn’t just down to luck, there’s a lot of hard work involved in putting yourself in the position to score, and Shaun is definitely a player who puts in the work.
“I also know how much his teammates like playing alongside him, because he’s so hungry and enthusiastic, both on the competitive field and on the training field.
“Having said that, there’s still a fair bit of improvement in him, although I do feel he’s developing ahead of schedule.
“He’s definitely maturing into someone who should be a good Super League player for several years to come.”
Although Lunt and Hodgson are battling it out to be top tryscoring dog, four of their Galpharm teammates remain within striking distance to join the race to be top of the tree.
Brett Hodgson, Michael Lawrence and Kevin Brown all have five tries to their name, and a similar lightning strike to Lunt’s over the past couple of weeks could change the whole complexion.
It’s a battle that could become a fascinating sideshow in the months ahead.