Hull FC head to the Select Security Stadium tomorrow in high spirits. After a bump in the road around Easter when Hull conceded over 100 points in two home games they seemed to have turned as corner as they made it 3 wins in a row last week. They tore Warrington Wolves apart in the second half to run out 34-10 winners. After holding on to beat Castleford despite being down to 12 men for an hour the week before this win was another statement as Hull ended the visitors 4 match winning run.
Mahe Fonua was imperious on the night as he was awarded man of the match. The Super League signing of the season Albert Kelly was also on top form once again as he bagged another two tries to make it 11 for the season for the dynamic half back. Several key players sat out for Hull including Danny Houghton who is back this week and they still had far too much for Warrington. Hull are starting to click into gear and that will be a worry for Widnes. After appearing to spark their season with a win over St Helens recently the Vikings were brought back to earth last week at the hands of Salford.
Wigan have already lost this weekend but Salford, Leeds and Castleford have won so a win for Hull would be significant as they would maintain their grip on 2nd place behind Castleford. Hull will be red hot favourites and if they play like they did last week they should win easily. If they get complacent however the wounded Vikings could punish them as St Helens found out two weeks ago.
There has been mixed team news this week for Lee Radford. After missing the last 6 games through injury Danny Houghton returns to the squad this week which is a huge plus for Lee Radford. Danny Washbrook has stood in more than admirably but Houghton is the type of player who you simply can’t fully replace so to have him back is excellent news. Hull also welcome back Liam Watts after suspension and Josh Bowden is back after suffering an injury against Leeds on Good Friday.
There was some bad news for Hull though as Gareth Ellis and Fetuli Talanoa are still out through injury, Sika Manu is suspended and Scott Taylor is on international duty with England. Taylor wasn’t selected to play for England which will have disappointed Lee Radford.
After suffering a heavy defeat at Salford the Vikings have made several changes to their squad this week. Chris Bridge, Jay Chapelhow, Rhys Hanbury, Ryan Ince, Aaron Heremaia and Danny Walker replace Sam Brooks, Greg Burke, Ted Chapelhow, Jordan Johnstone, Tom Olbison and Corey Thompson.
Where will the game be won and lost?
Avoiding Complacency: Hull are enjoying a decent run of form at the moment and they seem to be getting better and better each week. The Vikings however have endured a disappointing season so far despite winning their last home game. Hull will be big favourites to win and many will expect Hull to post a considerable score. Hull have to avoid letting this talk get into their heads because they know better than most what Widnes can do to you on home turf. Hull were hammered at Widnes last year and if they go into the game with the wrong attituded they could be punished again.
Ruthless Edge: Hull have started like a house on fire in recent games before letting sides come back at them. Although Leigh, Castleford and Warrington were all eventually beaten Hull did make it harder for themselves than they should have especially in the first half against Warrington. If FC get in front early against a struggling Widnes side it will be important for them to keep their foot on the gas and blow their opponents away.
Half Backs: Marc Sneyd and Albert Kelly appear to be gelling nicely. In the last few games they have become more fluent as a partnership and this was evident last week. They combined effortlessly at times whilst playing their individual roles to perfection. Sneyd kicked Warrington to death in the second half while Albert Kelly was at his destructive best as he caused havoc amongst the Warrington defensive line. Much of the attacking responsibility for Widnes will fall to Joe Mellor who has struggled without Kevin Brown to partner him this season. If Hull get on the front foot their superior half back combination should steer them to victory.