Another Challenge Cup Final, another Wembley win and another Lance Todd Trophy for Marc Sneyd, it all sounds pretty good doesn’t it?
Hull fans are still revelling in the glory of their side winning back to back Challenge Cup Finals, who would have seen that coming a few seasons ago? Lee Radford and his side appear to be starting to build a dynasty that if managed correctly could see Hull FC up there with Wigan, Leeds and St Helens for years to come.
Now the two cup wins have been real team efforts but a large cog in the black and the white wheel is their double Lance Todd winning half back Marc Sneyd.
Now any self-respecting Hull FC fan knows that the Half Back position for our famous old club is one of the hardest positions to fill in sport. The pressure to deliver is immense and many have folded under that pressure in recent years. In the period between Paul Cooke leaving and Sneyd arriving Hull never managed to fill the number seven role adequately. Many tried but ultimately failed to live up to the pressure for whatever reason. Sean Long was past his prime, Adam Dykes was fantastic but had a season pass for the physio room and Chris Thorman, well the least said about him the better!
Then along came Sneyd. The Ginger Wizard signed for Hull from Salford after a successful loan spell at Castleford. Even before he played a game for Hull though he was under pressure. He wilted at Wembley for Castleford in 2014 and many keyboard warriors were already writing him off. Sneyd made his debut for Hull in the 19-0 away win at Huddersfield to kick off the 2015 season. All looked good after that game but it’s fair to say he had an up and down first season with Hull in what was a pretty poor side. Whenever Hull lost he was the scapegoat as is the custom for any Hull half back but he did show flashes of real brilliance especially with the wand he has attached to his left leg.
Sneyd is a quiet and unassuming guy who likes to get on with business. He admits he enjoys seeing people criticise him on social media after games. It drives him and makes him a better player. He was still getting pelters in 2016 until the spectacular comeback from 20-0 down at Hull KR changed everything. Hull kicked on from that point and so did Sneyd. Since then he has been untouchable in some games with his kicking game simply impossible for the opposition to defend. He has also proved himself to be a real big game player as all the greats are.
Take the two Challenge Cup wins for example. He took the game by the scruff of the neck against Warrington and pulled three magnificent kicks out of the bag to pull Hull back from the brink of another Wembley defeat. Then after a dodgy first fifteen minutes this year he ran the game against Wigan, he kicked them to death and pulled out another 40/20 to set up what turned out to be the winning try. Not to mention his performance against Leeds in the semi-final which was the best I have seen from a half back in 15 years supporting the club.
Hull coach Lee Radford admitted Sneyd is probably the most criticised Hull half back ever which takes some doing. Despite not being at his best in every game he continues to stick two fingers up to his critics when it really matters and for me that means he has to be considered one of Hull’s best ever half backs.
Now I know all of you around in the 80’s glory days will argue that Peter Sterling is the be all and end all and you may be right, I wasn’t around to see him play so I can’t judge but Sneyd has done things no other half back has ever done for anyone never mind Hull. He is the first player ever to win back to back Lance Todd Trophies outright which is a magnificent achievement and thoroughly deserved. We haven’t even mentioned his conversion rate which makes Kevin Sinfield look like a second rate kicker. He hardly ever misses and that is another massive asset for Hull which shouldn’t be underestimated.
He may not be Hull’s best ever yet but he sure isn’t far off, his record speaks for itself and when he kicks the winning drop goal in the Grand Final this year more FC fans may just realise they have a real Ginger gem on their hands.