No one truly knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people around them, but for the Hull FC players, coaching staff and our owner Adam Pearson, they should take great pride right now that their regime is impacting so many supporters’ lives in such a positive way.
For a thousand or so Hull FC fans, Australia now awaits us, and that wasn’t a bad send off. At the risk of getting a little carried away, we’re in absolute dreamland. We are reigning back-to-back Challenge Cup winners, with two top four finishes in the league, two international captains, a consecutive Lance Todd trophy winner, a former Man of Steel in the ranks, and we are about to head off to two groundbreaking events in Wollongong and Sydney. Unreal, when you consider what the environment and regime was like when Lee Radford took over back in late 2013, to what it is now.
UTC was lucky enough to speak to Sky Sports’ Angela Powers for the latest Fanzine, and we asked her who her favourite person was to interview. She picked Radders. Why? Because in her words he offers expert analysis, but he has the humour and integrity to go with it. Radders is a student of the game and whilst he is in charge of this team, good things will happen. He’s built this squad from scratch. Along with Andy Last, he’s changed the fortunes of Hull FC, going from rugby league minnows to immortals, and that’s only taking into consideration what they’ve achieved at Wembley Stadium over the past two years.
The fact is there is a lot more to come, and for a team that has been questioned on their ability to cope without club legend Gareth Ellis this season, hammering Huddersfield 38-12 on the opening night was a satisfactory start. It was only a 6/10 performance too. There were moments when we looked a little off, but there were also moments when we looked red hot too. That’s the nature of the beast and we’re only in February. You can throw in all the cliches you want, but for Hull there’s a lot of improvement to come, and that’s exciting.
Expectation of course is aplenty. Reaching Old Trafford is the goal for everyone and there’s no hiding away from that. It’s an absolute necessity and anything else would be considered a failure. That shows the ambition here. It’s Sky high. But if you can take your eyes of Australia and the immediate future, that’s a realisation that there are still 29-rounds left, and anything can happen. Another cliche. But a relevant one as we know better than most not to get carried away, but then again this feeling is not built on a single game. That would be ludicrous. It’s built on two seasons of high after high after high.
We’ll see how things pan out, but right now we are in a good place to handle the challenges of another Super League season. Most of the things we have come to expect with Hull FC were on show at some point against the Giants. The juggernauts in the pack had no trouble in busting the line, whilst the two half backs, and a third pivot from the bench, were very good.
A lot has been made of Jordan Abdull this off-season. There’s a talent there. Whether that’s best suited to the halves or in the middle is down to interpretation, but in the latter, Abbo had a decent outing, from a runner to a point of distribution. Elsewhere, Albert Kelly gave the first indication, of hopefully many, that this second season syndrome nonsense really is nothing more than a bitter cry of jealously from our friends over the river. Albey scored once and ran and supported well all game, constantly poking his nose through the line. And then there’s Marc Sneyd, who’s left boot did the talking again with an almost-perfect kicking display. What a player he is.
Whilst there were some frustrating aspects of our play, most notably Jamie Shaul going into touch on the first play following a scrum, not to mention undoing a decent start to go 4-12 down, we can be content. Sika Manu was terrific, despite not featuring in pre-season. The same can be said of Mark Minichiello and new boy Bureta Faraimo, who constantly looked for work. Josh Griffin impressed and Dean Hadley also gave a good first competitive outing after his loan spell at Wakefield, whilst youngsters Jansin Turgut and Masimbaashe Matongo had their moments. Pleasing, when you consider Hull’s most influential middle, Liam Watts, was sat on the sidelines, alongside Chris Green and Carlos Tuimavave.
What has to be considered as the greatest highlight though was how ruthless Hull were after half time. One can assume Radders gave them a bollocking, and a 28-0 second half score-line, including a hat-trick for Fetuli Talanoa, wasn’t a bad response. Tries also followed from Jake Connor and Shaul, following Kelly’s first half effort. Ryan Hinchcliffe and Ukuma Ta’ai crossed for Huddersfield, who had nothing to show following the break. That was weird itself. Momentum is a bizarre thing in rugby league, and both sides got on the occasional role after what can be only described as some questionable officiating from the man in the middle. He was more out of depth than Ralph Wiggum in the deep end of the swimming pool. Penalties galore and no control of the ruck. Standard.
But let’s not end on a sour note. Make no mistake this side will be a force again this year. They’ve recruited well and have the X-Factor players across the park. On the evidence we’ve seen so far, and against a decent looking Huddersfield team, it’s going to be another great ride following Hull FC over land and sea in 2018.
Hull Starting XIII: 1. Jamie Shaul, 2. Bureta Faraimo, 14. Jake Connor, 4. Josh Griffin, 5. Fetuli Talanoa, 6. Albert Kelly, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 23. Mickey Paea, 21. Sika Manu, 12. Mark Minichiello, 11. Dean Hadley. Interchange: 22. Josh Bowden, 29. Masimbaashe Matongo, 16. Jordan Abdull, 25. Jansin Turgut.
Hull Tries: Kelly, Talanoa 3, Connor, Shaul. Goals: Sneyd 7/8
Hull 3-2-1 Man of the Match: 3pts Marc Sneyd, 2pts Jordan Abdull, 1pt Fetuli Talanoa
Huddersfield Starting XIII: 1. Jake Mamo, 23. Darnell McIntosh, 6. Lee Gaskell, 4. Jordan Turner, 5. Aaron Murphy, 15. Jordan Rankin, 7. Danny Brough, 20. Adam Walne, 21. Adam O’Brien, 17. Ukuma Ta’ai, 16. Oliver Roberts. 12. Michael Lawrence, 13. Ryan Hinchcliffe. Interchange: 8. Sebastine Ikahihifo, 9. Kruise Leeming, 18. Paul Clough, 19. Daniel Smith.
Huddersfield Tries: Hinchcliffe, Ta’ai. Goals: Brough 2/2
Scoring System: 2-0, 4-0, 4-6, 4-12, 10-12, 16-12, 22-12, 28-12, 34-12, 38-12
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas
Our Hull FC reports in 2018 are courteously produced by the Up the Cream Fanzine.
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