After four frustrating years it’s finally happened in Super League, and not many of us saw it coming – a Hull FC victory over Leeds Whinos.
An that’s an appropriate suffix given Brian McDermott’s post-match comments, but to be honest he’s absolutely right. I’m lost in confusion most weeks now in terms of officiating and there are so many monstrosities that grace the modern-day game, some of which, for instance playacting and the on-field refs inability to make a decision, are really tarnishing its proud reputation. This ain’t soccer lads. But amongst a few negative moments, this was a highly entertaining contest played between two very good sides on the hottest night of the year so far.
Summer rugby is here at last and it was pleasant alone to not sit at a game freezing your nads off. Hopefully Mr Sun will stay out for next few months but then again that’s about as likely as Stuart Cummings talking sense. Good old British weather. At least we’re off to Catalans next week. But this was a great display, comfortably the Black and Whites’ best of the season against one of our greatest foes, with another game winning moment from Marc Sneyd ensuring two vital points went our way.
It’s not every day we beat the Leeds scum, and we enjoy it when we do. The sight of their poor away following emptying quicker than the vaults at the Holderness Road branch of NatWest on Giro day was very pleasing indeed. We can see you sneaking out. That was sweet, especially for Sneyd, who by nailing his 20th drop-goal for the club, made sure his left boot earned the win for his side for the second home game running.
And by that one swing of Sneyd’s boot, that’s now five wins from five at the KCOM Stadium for Hull FC this year. Probably a bit premature to start talking about it as a fortress, but coming the year after tedious home defeats arguably cost us a top two finish, it’s a very pleasing stat. Talk of the top two this year is probably a bit premature too. After all this win only sees Hull scrape into the top four, but that’s a false sense of security with both Castleford and Leeds below us having games in hand. Never the less though, we’ve now won five of our past six games with the shortest turnarounds over the Easter Period of anyone else in Super League, that’s some effort and the nine-day rest between now and Perpignan will be very welcome indeed.
It keeps us ticking over, and winning in France a week on Saturday is an absolute necessity. We’ve got to keep building and cement our stance as serious contenders once more, something which, and let’s not voice it too loud, we seem to be doing after an average start. In truth this was the first time Hull have got out of second gear and it was probably no surprise to see it happen with the return of Mark Minichiello, Dean Hadley and most significantly the mountain that makes kids cry just by staring at them, Sika Manu.
All three blokes are a key component of what Hull do. On return Manu was excellent, as was Hadley and ladies man Minichiello. They all had their moments but the night belonged to the best free transfer in Super League history, Albert Kelly. The indigenous Australian star was absolutely outstanding and once again I’m struggling to find superlatives to do justice to how good he was. Phenomenal about sums it up. He was a class above anyone else on that pitch and had a hand in all four of FC’s tries. Second season syndrome and all that. Pffft. He’s a tough little bastard and his display was magnificent. There’s rumours too of a new contract and everyone in West Hull will be doing backflips if an announcement comes to fruition.
Much more like it, it was the sort of display we’ve come to expect under Lee Radford, who’s side were energetic, committed and continued to ask the question over very good opposition. Building a 14-0 lead through a brace from Jake Connor and an effort for the ever-improving Bureta Faraimo, they were completely on top, but, and I’ll say this through gritted teeth, Leeds did what all champion sides do, and got themselves back in the game. They had a domineering spell of possession and made it count, with tries from Ryan Hall, Joel Moon, and Matt Parcell edging them ahead. At that point it looked like same old and we can forgive anyone who felt as pessimistic as results against this lot rarely go in our favour, especially when Adam Cuthbertson’s offload game is as strong as that. He’s a freak at times. Fair play to Tom Briscoe too who again applauded the Hull fans post-match despite constant taunts about his poor geographical knowledge and the fact he was peppered yet again by Fetuli Talanoa. He gets a lot of stick for man who scored five tries against Rovers in a cup final. But we don’t forget do we.
But moving on, and luckily for us, Hull got some second wind and levelled through Carlos Tuimavave, and at that point the much criticised Stadium was at atmospheric as I’ve seen it this season. England hopeful Scott Taylor was tremendous in orchestrating that and the stage was then set for kicking supremo Sniper Sneyd, who despite missing three conversions, made no mistake with the most important contribution of the night. Game, set and match, and for the first time since September 2014, Hull FC.
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, 13. Josh Bowden, 21. Sika Manu, 12. Mark Minichiello, 11. Dean Hadley. Interchange: 23. Mickey Paea, 29. Masimbaashe Matongo, 26. Jordan Lane, 3. Carlos Tuimavave.
Hull Tries: Connor 2, Faraimo, Tuimavave. Goals: Sneyd 1/4. Drop Goal: Sneyd.
Hull 3-2-1 Man of the Match: 3pts Albert Kelly, 2pts Jake Connor, 1pt Masimbaashe Matongo
Leeds Starting XIII: 1. Ashton Golding, 2. Tom Briscoe, 3. Kallum Watkins, 22. Ash Handley, 5. Ryan Hall, 6. Joel Moon, 7. Richard Myler, 15. Brett Delaney, 9. Matt Parcell, 8. Adam Cuthbertson, 12. Carl Ablett, 11. James Jones-Buchanan, 13. Stevie Ward. Interchange: 16. Anthony Mullally, 19. Brett Ferres, 27. Cameron Smith, 28. Mikolaj Oledzki.
Leeds Tries: Hall, Moon, Parcell. Goals: Watkins 3/3.
Scoring System: 4-0, 8-0, 14-0, 14-6, 14-12, 14-18, 18-18, 19-18.
Referee: Ben Thaler
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