What is different about Hull FC in 2015

The 150th anniversary of Hull FC does put added pressure on the players because it puts an extra spotlight on the club as a whole, but particularly on its main representatives on the pitch.

Added to the celebrations of their landmark year the away shirt now carries the name of a true Hull FC and Rugby League legend, which will see them expected to perform with the same drive and ambition as Steve Prescott did both in his time in the game and in his incredible fundraising efforts.

What the double header at Doncaster told us was that the future of the club is looking very bright. In 2014 we became aware of young talents such as Callum Lancaster, Jack Logan, Jordan Abdull and Harry Tyson-Wilson. Yesterday Jordan Abdull took centre stage as he swaggered around the pitch like he owned it.

However other players also announced themselves to the watching public. Curtis Naughton made people very aware of his talent with a two try display which, with his goalkicking, saw him produce a 16 point haul on his debut. Callum Smith on the right wing also had an effect as he scored a smart try against very difficult opposition.

It was also noted in the first game that the already supremely powerful Feka Paleaaesina has bulked up even more and now has a turn of pace that belighs his size and age whilst he has lost none of his power and aggression.

Jansin Turgut is a born leader, he displayed this by ordering the more senior players like Paleaaesina, Watts and Green around with real confidence and purpose and all bought into what he was saying, he is clearly a future Hull FC captain.

In the second game the clear difference is that Hull now have a genuinely frightening attack. Setaimata Sa, who arrived half way through last season, is clearly bigger and stronger and has all the silky handling skills of a major ball playing centre.

New half backs Leon Pryce and Marc Sneyd also clearly possess sublime ball handling skills and Sneyd also has the sort of kicking game that should have the Old Faithful purring in the season to come.

Tom Lineham looks a much leaner, fitter and meaner proposition and Jamie Shaul is no longer the slightly built lad at the back as he looks to have added some size and yet is still lightning fast and he has added some skill to his game when going forward, as evidenced with his third try when he produced a delightful little deft chip over one defender and then beat his opposite number to the ball to dive over.

Names to look out for making a breakthrough in this anniversary year are, Jansin Turgut, Bobby Tyson-Wilson and Curtis Naughton.

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York City Knights v Hull FC report

A much stronger Hull FC team took to the pitch for the second game of the double header at the Keepmoat Stadium in Doncaster yesterday against York City Knights as preperations for the upcoming Super League season continued with urgency.

A 62-0 victory over lower league opposition was never going to mean anything other than a training run but what it did, in the context of the double header, was provide Head Coach Lee Radford and the fans with a look at the whole squad at his disposal and show where combinations are working and what deficiencies need working on before the sterner tests to come.

York stood up to the test, as expected, for the first 5 or 10 minutes before ultimately succumbing to the inevitable onslaught by the fitter, stronger, faster and more agile Super League opposition.

Stand out performances for the Airlie Birds were supplied by Setaimata Sa and Jamie Shaul while new half back pairing Leon Pryce and Marc Sneyd worked very well in conjunction with each other.

The one dark note for Radford was the removal of Jordan Rankin with what looked like a worrying shoulder injury, he will go for a scan today but the prognosis appears to be he will only be out for a few weeks rather than months.

Sa grabbed himself a hat-trick and provided the try scoring pass for Tom Lineham to score against his old club.

There was also a brace of tries for last years player of the year Fetuli Talanoa and, after coming on to replace Rankin, Jamie Shaul also scored a hat-trick.

Other tries were contributed by Kirk Yeaman and Dean Hadley in a completely one sided affair.

The difference between the hat-trick’s was that Sa’s was all about the brute force and aggression that he looks ready to unleash on Super League while the hat-trick from Shaul owed much to his sublime, silky skills and blinding pace.

Sa stood out not just because of his tryscoring but because of his obviously increased bulk and his sublime handling skills, he isn’t a centre who will go 70 or 80 metres to score a try but given a chance within 20 metres he looks capable of knocking the biggest forwards out of his way to get over the line.

Much of Hull’s attack will revolve around Pryce and Sneyd and, if this match was anything at all to go by, the black and white’s do appear to have answered that age old problem in emphatic style as both halves showed a willingness to work hard even in this easiest of stroles to victory with precise passing and kicking in particular.

With Sneyd adding 9 goals from 11 attempts Hull also seem to have an excellent new goalkicker although the returns of players such as Richard Whiting and Joe Westerman does give Hull other options in this department, along with Curtis Naughton who kicked well in the first game of the day.

Doncaster RL v Hull FC report

A largely youthful Hull FC side got the clubs 150th Anniversary year off to a winning start with a hard fought 29-28 victory against Championship side Doncaster at the Keepmoat Stadium yesterday.

With Feka Paleaaesina, Chris Green and Liam Watts the only senior players in the side for the first game of a double header for the visitors it was a team that had its roots in the aspiring under 19s team who were all out to impress the watching Lee Radford against stern opposition.

New signing Curtis Naughton was handed the chance to shine in the battle for the full back position and this he did with 2 tries and 4 goals for a personal haul of 16 points.

After a very physical opening to the game it was the visitors who settled into their rhythm first and were soon rattling up points and showing some great handling skills and stand off Jordan Abdull stood out as he swaggered around the pitch pushing even his more senior colleagues into the right areas.

Hull raced into a 16-0 lead inside the opening quarter of an hour, the first try came from Naughton after he supported a great break down the left by Abdull.

Shortly after that some fast hands from left to right allowed winger Callum Smith to finish assuredly in the corner and then scrum half Harry Tyson-Wilson made a smart break in broken play and handed on to Jack Logan for the centre to race in under the posts.

Two soft penalties allowed Doncaster to build pressure on the Hull line and Mike Kelly took advantage to barge over for the hosts first try which was converted by winger Stewart Sanderson.

A few minutes later Doncaster were in again as a fast move down their left exposed some more defensive frailties and allowed Sanderson to score in the corner, the winger hit the post with the conversion attempt but still Doncaster were back in the game at 16-10.

Hull built pressure again on the Doncaster line but a chance was spurned as the ball was dropped just 10 metres from the Doncaster line.

Hull finished the half more sprightly and a 40 metre break from Callum Lancaster down the left wing was supported by Curtis Naughton who cantered in under the posts and added the conversion as the half time hooter sounded to give Hull a 22-10 lead going into the break.

Hull started off the 2nd half with another try, fast hands between Naughton, Joe Arundel and Lancaster led to a gaping hole in the Doncaster defence which Abdull strolled through to get the try that his performance deserved, another Naughton conversion left the score at 28-10.

Russ Spiers grabbed a smart try for Doncaster to reduce the arrears to 28-16 and then a moment of controversy led to the gap being reduced to 6 points. The worrying factor for Hull was Dave Scott brushed off 5 would-be tacklers on his way to scoring but during his run a Hull player was clearly obstructed by Scott running behind one of his own team mates, but with the new obstruction rule in place the referee allowed play to carry on as Scott went over beside the posts.

By this point Doncaster were very much in the ascendency and sniffing a shock comeback victory and another try came from Jack Walton for them despite a forward pass which the referee clearly missed and so with less than 10 minutes to go the scores were level at 28 all.

However with just 4 minutes remaining Hull again showed some smart game management to build pressure on the home line and Abdull capped a man of the match performance by stroking over a drop goal to claim the victory that they deserved.

There was still time for some drama as Doncaster forced a scrum on the Hull 10 metre line but the defence scrambled well to keep them at bay and prevent any further addition to the scoring.