St. Helens 18 Hull FC 47,Outstanding Airlie Birds punish poor Saints

Hull FC sent out a Challenge Cup warning with a stunning performance against St. Helens at Langtree Park this afternoon.

The Airlie Birds moved into the quarter-finals with a ruthless eight-try performance which bludgeoned the home side into submission in a fashion as hot as the soaring temperatures on the pitch.

Marc Sneyd produced another masterful performance as man of the match with a kicking, running and passing game that was second-to-none.

Head coach Lee Radford brought skipper Gareth Ellis and star Mark Minichiello straight back into the starting line-up to replace Frank Pritchard and Sika Manu who were away on international duty.

Danny Washbrook came into the starting 13 as well having started on the bench in the win against Catalans Dragons last week as the Airlie Birds went looking for their fourth consecutive win at Langtree Park.

Saints started the better of the two sides with Theo Fages just short of an attempted 40/20 and then, after a knock on by Danny Houghton they forced more pressure as a delicate chip by Luke Walsh forced Fetuli Talanoa to run the ball dead.

From the resulting possession a fast move to the left saw Mark Percival give the home side a deserved lead in the fifth minute, Walsh added the extras with the conversion from wide out.

Video referee Ben Thaler was called into action for the first time to award a try to Danny Houghton after the home side conceded a soft penalty for offside and, subsequently, former Saints player Leon Pryce put the Hull vice-captain through a big gap, Marc Sneyd brought the scores level with the conversion in the 11th minute.

Hull then took the lead as another penalty, this time for a high shot by Kyle Amor on Houghton, gave the visitors territory and possession and Scott Taylor proved too strong to crash over beside the posts, Sneyd made it a six point advantage with the inevitable conversion in the 14th minute.

Back-to-back knock on’s from Saints then ramped up the pressure on their defensive line but then another knock on from Hull lost them the momentum they had built up.

A huge 40/20 by Sneyd gave Hull another chance at the Saints end of the pitch and a beautiful move involving Houghton and Sneyd brought a simple try for Ellis, Sneyd was again successful with the conversion in the 21st minute.

St. Helens were next to threaten after a penalty gave them much needed possession in the Hull half but resolute defence from Hull kept them at bay and a last tackle kick by Fages was scooped up by Josh Bowden.

Another penalty for the home side gave them more territory and eventually Louie McCarthy-Scarsbrook bashed his way over the line despite the attentions of Sneyd, Walsh made it 12-18 with the conversion in the 32nd minute.

Referee Richard Silverwood then called on video confirmation as Jamie Shaul crossed from dummy half after impressive power saw the Airlie Birds cover 50+ metres in next to no time, Sneyd restored their 12 point lead with the conversion three minutes before the break.

Sneyd then repeated the trick that bagged the Airlie Birds a single point victory at the same ground just over a month earlier with a drop-goal to make it a three score lead at half-time.

St. Helens had a lucky escape in the 2nd minute after a knock on saw the loose ball kicked through by Talanoa for the winger to eventually cross the whitewash but they were brought back for a knock on by Kirk Yeaman.

The home side then went straight down the other end as Luke Walsh was allowed to run  50 metres and stretch out to score as Shaul tried to effect the tackle, the aussie half-back then added the extras from near the touchline five minutes into the half.

Just as the home side seemed to have the momentum Hull went and took control back as Sneyd produced a superb cut-out pass to put Curtis Naughton over in the corner for his almost customary try at this ground, Sneyd was just wide with the touchline conversion after 53 minutes.

Sneyd then accepted the invitation to add two more points with a penalty in front of the posts after a high tackle on Mark Minichiello to make it a three score lead again after 58 minutes.

Another delightful kick by Sneyd under great pressure near the Saints line then produced another try as Talanoa beat two defenders to the ball and offloaded to Yeaman for the veteran centre to cross in the corner, Sneyd stretched the lead to 18-37 with the conversion with 15 minutes left to play.

Hull forced a goal line drop out with their next attack and the Airlie Birds took full advantage as a deft pass from Houghton manufactured a 2nd try of the game for Taylor, Sneyd made it 7 goals from 8 attempts with the conversion after 69 minutes.

Another handling mistake from Saints gave Hull another chance from a 10 metre scrum and Talanoa got the try he deserved with an athletic finish in the corner awarded by the video referee, Sneyd was just off target with the conversion with five minutes left on the clock.

Jack Owens was unfortunate in the final minute as he was denied by the video referee after he just put his foot in touch trying to grab a consolation.

Penalties: Saints 3 Hull FC: 6

Goal Line Drop Outs: Saints 1 Hull FC 2

40/20: Saints 0 Hull FC: 1

Man of the Match: Marc Sneyd

Hull KR 20 Hull FC 22, Stunning comeback bags derby bragging rights for Airlie Birds

Hull FC proved they have sheer guts and determination to claim the first derby bragging rights of the Super League season in thrilling fashion at the KC Lightstream Stadium.

Being 20 points down after nearly an hour the men from the KC Stadium produced a comeback some would have thought impossible in the pressure cooker that is the Hull Derby.

Full-Back Jamie Shaul was the main catalyst with a 60 meter try and then a fabulous kick-return which set up the position for a try by Vice-Captain Danny Houghton five minutes later.

Coach Lee Radford brought Mahe Fonua back into the starting 13 as the former Melbourne Storm man returned from injury that had kept him out since his debut on the opening weekend of the season.

Frank Pritchard was restored to the starting line-up as well after starting from the bench against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and former Rovers prop Liam Watts came back into the starting side as well as Josh Bowden dropped to the bench.

Feka Palea’aesina was brought into the 17 for his first appearance of the season for the black and whites as Sika Manu dropped out for the first time in his debut season.

The first drama came within the opening minute as Josh Mantellato returned a deep kick from Marc Sneyd and appeared to drop the ball in the tackle which Carlos Tuimavave pounced on to score only to be controversially denied by video referee James Child.

The Robins were seeing most of the ball and territory in the early stages but a resilient defence from the black and whites was continually keeping them out with some superb scrambling.

The home side took the lead after 13 minutes as Ryan Shaw crossed in the right corner after a peach of a pass from Ken Sio, Mantellato was off target with the touchline conversion attempt.

Hull were able to build sustained pressure for the first time on the home line with a penalty and then forced a goal line drop out but, after the tackle count had been wiped down a knock on by Watts relieved the pressure for the Robins.

Big hits were flying in with great regularity as Scott Taylor and Ben Cockayne were making themselves felt by their opposition on both sides with some particularly fearsome hits.

Hull were again denied by the video referee, correctly this time, as Danny Washbrook touched down after competing for a Sneyd kick with Cockayne and knocking on.

Hull then tried to be too elaborate with a back-flip pass which was intercepted by Sio who went 60 meters after 30 minutes, Mantellato was successful with the conversion this time to make it a ten point lead for the home side.

Hull were being their own worst enemies with some stupid mistakes from forcing passes that weren’t on or trying too hard when they got near the home side’s line.

Mantellato was presented with a penalty bang in front of the posts and duly obliged to stretch their lead to 12 points with two minutes to go to half-time.

A scrappy first half was then brought to a close as Rovers hooker John Boudebza took a pathetic swan dive from a nothing shoulder charge which ignited a bit of fisticuffs and gave the home side a penalty which led to nothing after the hooter had sounded.

The Robins got the rub of the green early in the second half being given a harsh penalty after losing the ball at the first tackle.

The Airlie Birds first push at the home line came from a penalty but a forward pass from Sneyd brought the chance to an end frustratingly.

Another attack by Hull asked more questions of the Robins defence but again the home side stood firm until Mantellato was able to pouch a last tackle kick from Danny Houghton.

Video referee Child was called upon again as Iain Thornley somehow held off two defenders to role over the line after 51 minutes to be awarded the try, Mantellato was on target with the conversion from wide out.

Another penalty came to the home side from a high tackle on talismanic scrum-half Albert Kelly, Mantellato made it a 20 point lead for them.

A short kick off from the Airlie Birds presented the home side with more possession and territory but this time a knock-on stopped their momentum.

Just as the Robins were contemplating a first nilling of their great rivals in the Super League era the black and whites finally got on the scoreboard with a beautiful offload inside by Kirk Yeaman putting full-back Jamie Shaul away down the left to go 60 meters on the hour, Marc Sneyd added the extras from wide out.

A superb flowing move involving eight passes then put Houghton over beside the posts to establish there was still a game to be played, Sneyd then added the conversion to bring Hull back within eight points of their neighbours.

Hull were suddenly in the driving seat as the seesaw nature of the game afforded them some territory and possession at last which was being exploited by some frantic attacking moves and passing.

Another penalty then saw Houghton put Fonua over with nine minutes remaining to put them back within one score, Sneyd was wide with the conversion but from a seemingly hopeless position the black and whites had all the momentum at 20-16.

In an unbelievable turnaround Steve Michaels then brought the Airlie Birds level as Fonua put him away down the outside and the Australian calmly rounded Cockayne to score with five minutes left to play, Sneyd gave the Airlie Birds a two point lead with the conversion.

The frantic pace of the game was suddenly stopped with less than two minutes left after an injury to Kirk Yeaman brought a stop to play.

Passionate defence from the black and whites then saw them close the match out to claim the unlikeliest of wins.

Penalties- Rovers 9 Hull 7

Goal Line Drop Outs- Rovers 2 Hull 0

Attendance: 11,050

Man of the Match: Jamie Shaul

Widnes Vikings 46 Hull FC 6, Woeful Airlie Birds punished for dreadful performance

Hull FC were cut to pieces in embarrassing fashion by a red-hot Widnes Vikings as the Super League table-toppers scored 46 unanswered points after falling behind early on.

The Airlie Birds were given a harsh lesson after a controversial decision by the video referee ruled out what looked a legitimate try for Sika Manu which led to a capitulation that is not generally related to this proud side.

Coach Lee Radford restored Frank Pritchard to his match day squad and gave him his first start after he missed the narrow defeat against Wigan Warriors, Liam Watts dropped to the bench to be replaced by in-form Josh Bowden at prop.

Jordan Abdull was drafted in to replace the injured Leon Pryce and Mark Minichiello dropped to the bench having started the first four games of the season for the black and white’s.

The Vikings had an early blow when Chris Bridge had to leave the pitch with a shoulder problem after a challenge with Pritchard after two minutes.

The Airlie Birds drew first blood after six and a half minutes as Pritchard crashed through the Widnes defensive line to score his first try for his new club after a bullocking run by Scott Taylor set up the position, Marc Sneyd added the conversion for a six point lead.

Three minutes later Fetuli Talanoa was denied a try by the video referee as he dropped the ball diving for the corner.

The video referee was called into action after Abdull launched a high kick and, after Jack Logan challenged Stefan Marsh in the air the Vikings player lost the ball and Sika Manu went over, however controversially the extra official Phil Bentham ruled out the try.

The league leaders then went straight to the other end and Joe Mellor got on the end of a fast move to touchdown, Rhys Hanbury brought the scores level in the 16th minute.

Widnes then turned the match on its head after Marsh made an interception and break and, from that position an attacking kick from Kevin Brown leading try scorer Corey Thompson crossed to put the Vikings undeservedly ahead after 20 minutes, Hanbury was wide with the touchline conversion attempt.

Hull were denied another try by the video referee after 25 minutes after Manu knocked on in front of the line before crashing over.

Thompson then added his second try of the game in the 28th minute after a wide kick from Mellor saw Talanoa again out of position to allow his opposite number to gather and touchdown far too easily, Hanbury again was wide with the conversion to leave the home side with an eight point lead.

The Vikings then stretched their lead after another wide kick from Brown presented them with another opportunity for marsh to cross the whitewash after 32 minutes, Hanbury was wide with another conversion attempt.

Widnes then got a controversial try after Liam Watts appeared to pinch the ball in a one-on-one tackle but referee Richard Silverwood maintained it was still Widnes ball and subsequently Hanbury got on the end of a pass and then converted his own try to give them an 18 point lead at the break.

Brown extended the Vikings lead after 46 minutes after a mistake by Jamie Shaul from a high kick presented them with a scrum near the Hull line and the Widnes captain side stepped through the Airlie Birds defence, Hanbury took them to the 30 point mark with the conversion.

The Vikings were then given another controversial try after Marsh was awarded a second try by the video referee despite appearing to drop the ball after 52 minutes, Hanbury made it a 30 point lead with the conversion.

The Vikings hit the 40 mark as Matt Whitley crossed under the posts just short of the hour, Hanbury added the extras to make it a 36 point lead.

Marsh then got his hat-trick after a move from one side to the other and back again, Hanbury missed the conversion to leave the score at 46-6.

The Vikings were given more possession and territory with a scrum 10 meters from the visitors line despite the fact that Chris Houston appeared to knock the ball onto Danny Washbrook but a penalty allowed Hull to clear their lines.

Hull kept Widnes out for the rest of the game to at least avoid the ignominy of conceding a half century of points after their worst display for some time.

Penalties: Widnes 8 Hull 8

Goal Line Drop Outs: Widnes 1 Hull 1

Man of the Match: Hep Cahill

Catalans Dragons 10 Hull FC 38, Airlie Birds masterclass puts out Dragons fire

Hull FC sent out a warning that cannot now be ignored by Super League with an impressive dismantling of Catalans Dragons at Stade Gilbert Brutus.

The black and white’s ran in seven tries as the french side, who pride themselves on their home form, were simply ripped apart by a merciless Hull side who are currently scoring tries for the sheer fun of it.

Lee Radford brought in Steve Michaels to replace the injured Mahe Fonua on the wing and captain Gareth Ellis returned on the bench after 7 months out with a snapped achilles to replace the unfortunate Chris Green as the only changes to the team who thumped Salford Red Devils in round one.

The Dragons got the first chance after referee Robert Hicks gave them a penalty for Hull holding down Tony Gigot, from that a grubber kick from Richard Myler was taken dead by Jamie Shaul forcing a goal line drop out.

However that chance was wasted by a knock on from the home side just 20 meters from the Airlie Birds line.

Another penalty presented the french outfit with another chance but again a well-drilled Hull defence kept them at bay when Michaels plucked a Richard Myler bomb out the air and then a soft penalty piggy-backed the black and white’s into the Catalans half.

Finally Hull broke the Dragons defence on the last tackle as a fast move to the left wing saw Fetuli Talanoa stretch over in the corner, Marc Sneyd was unlucky with the touchline conversion hitting the post leaving Hull with a four point lead in the ninth minute.

Another penalty earned Hull more territory but the chance was wasted due to a forward pass from Leon Pryce to Sika Manu giving Catalans a relieving scrum.

Another penalty for the home side gave them another attacking opportunity and former Wigan player Pat Richards crossed the whitewash in the corner to bring them level, the Australian winger was off the mark with the touchline conversion attempt though.

The Dragons tried attacking with speed down their left side again but Vincent Duport lost the ball in a good tackle from Michaels and Jack Logan presenting Hull with a scrum on halfway.

A penalty then allowed them to crank up the pressure and a crabbing run from Mark Minichiello and a slightly fortunate pass found Sika Manu for the former Kiwi international to charge over, the conversion from Sneyd gave them a six point advantage in the 17th minute.

The see-saw nature of the game continued as yet another penalty gave Catalans another opportunity, then the pressure was increased as Sneyd went for an interception but was unable to hold it resulting in a scrum for the Dragons 20 meters out and another chance for Richards saw the winger fortuitously cross in the corner, and this time he was on target with the touchline conversion.

Another penalty for the visitors gave them more territory but a harsh decision against them gave the Dragons a relieving scrum as video referee Thierry Alibert made a controversial call to reverse referee Hicks’ decision.

A dangerous tackle from Dave Taylor and Eloi Pelissier gave Hull another penalty and prop Josh Bowden bashed his way over through three defenders to give the black and white’s the lead again for the third time after 28 minutes, the conversion from Sneyd was straight and true to make it 10-16.

Hull started moving forward again from the kick off and then a touch on a pass from Todd Carney saw the tackle count wiped clean as they entered enemy territory again but a delicate kick from Leon Pryce just avoided Michaels at the corner flag.

A big mistake from Catalans then saw the ball dropped as they were moving away from their line, the ball was picked up by Ellis who then put the pass inside to Jack Logan for the young centre to race through a gaping hole in the Dragons defence, the conversion from Sneyd stretched the lead to 12 points for the men from the KC Stadium.

Catalans then attacked with just over three minutes of the half left and a high kick had to be touched down in-goal by Talanoa to force another goal line drop out but a thunderous hit from Liam Watts floored Dave Taylor when he looked to be getting through and then a nothing kick from Myler went into touch.

Hull then saw out the first half with no real drama in the last couple of minutes of the half to take their deserved lead to the half time break.

The first opportunity of the second half was handed to Hull as the Dragons coughed up possession in their own half but the chance was just missed as Jack Logan was unable to pounce on a grubber to the in-goal on the last tackle.

A break from Carlos Tuimavave saw Hull set-up another attack in Catalans territory and then a penalty gave them another chance to press the home defence but eventually a penalty went the way of the home side from Logan being off-side after a Sneyd kick.

Another harsh decision from the video referee then saw Catalans awarded a scrum 10 meters from the Hull line but strong defence from the Airlie Birds forced another mistake from the french outfit as possession was once again coughed up.

A break in midfield from Gigot then saw Hull’s defence stretched again but a timely tackle from Manu stopped them dead but Pryce was sin-binned for a collision in back play.

The next chance for the Dragons was wasted yet again with a forward pass giving the 12 men a relieving scrum.

Catalans were then penalised after Minichiello was violently pushed in the back by Olivier Elima from which they decided to take the two points on offer which Sneyd duly obliged with to take Hull three scores clear after 55 minutes.

Another penalty for Hull proffered another chance and eventually Ellis crossed to touch down a delicate grubber by Sneyd, the scrum-half then made it a 20 point lead for the men from East Yorkshire with 20 minutes left.

A kick inside from Tuimavave then saw Minichiello tackle Gigot on the line to force a goal line drop out and a fast passing move involving Sneyd and Tuimavave put Talanoa over in the corner for his 2nd try, Sneyd was just wide with the touchline conversion.

Hull then went the full length with a devestating break by Talanoa who then put Jamie Shaul away from just inside his own half for yet another try, Sneyd however was wayward with another conversion leaving the score at 10-38 with 12 minutes left to play.

Gigot then presented Hull with another attacking opportunity as he knocked on a regulation Sneyd kick with nobody near him, another penalty for them then increased the pressure on the home line but the rarity of some organised defending from the Dragons kept them out although they conceded another goal line drop out.

From the drop out Hull attacked but Shaul was denied by the video referee after Talanoa appeared to put a foot in touch before passing the ball inside to the full-back.

From the next Hull attack Catalans were once again embarrassed as Scott Taylor scragged Dragons player Greg Mounis and dragged him back in-goal to force yet another drop out, from the attack from that Talanoa got over in the corner but the clearly corrupt video official harshly ruled it out.

The game ended with some bad-blood after Dave Taylor and Scott Taylor nearly came to blows after a thunderous tackle by the Hull man on the Catalans prop with a few seconds remaining.

Penalties: Catalans 6 Hull 10

Goal Line Drop Outs forced: Catalans 2 Hull 3

Man of the Match: Fetuli Talanoa

 

Hull FC 42 Salford Red Devils 20, Potent Hull attack put Red Devils to the sword

Hull FC got their 2016 Super League campaign off to a winning start at the KC Stadium with a breathtaking attacking display against the big spenders from the AJ Bell stadium.

As shown in the recent pre season derby Hull had an attack that was far too hot for their latest opponents to handle and scored tries aplenty as the Red Devils defence was cut to pieces with embarrassing ease.

Lee Radford started with much the same 13 that started the pre season derby against Hull KR with the only change being the return of Fetuli Talanoa in place of Curtis Naughton.

Chris Green, Josh Bowden, Danny Washbrook and headline act Frank ‘The Tank’ Pritchard made up the bench.

Marc Sneyd kicked off against his old side and immediately the Red Devils were under pressure as they knocked on from the kick off and then conceded a penalty after the scrum but their defence held firm to keep the black and white’s out.

However the first try wasn’t long in coming as Danny Houghton made a superb break in midfield from inside his own half before sending Leon Pryce scampering in for the first try under the posts with less than five minutes on the clock, the conversion from Sneyd gave them a six point lead.

Salford soon started to pressure the home side as they made yards before a deft high kick from Michael Dobson went into touch just in front of the Hull try line, however indiscipline cost them another penalty which piggy backed Hul into the danger zone but the chance was wasted when Jamie Shaul knocked on.

After the next kick from Salford referee Kendall made a ridiculous call as they were allowed to steal the ball from Carlos Tuimavave in a two man tackle and then further forward a blatant forward pass to Josh Griffin saw the Salford winger race in unopposed and then level the scores with a majestic conversion after 13 minutes.

A penalty to the Red Devils then gave Dobson opportunity to put them deep in Hull territory but this time Hull’s defence held firm and then the temperature was raised as Pritchard took to the field for his Super League debut.

A rampaging run by Pritchard set up the position for another Hull attack and, after scrambling defence from the visitors, Houghton turned provider again with a delicious kick to the right corner which Mahe Fonua gobbled up to put Hull back in front after 19 minutes, unfortunately Sneyd was unable to add the extras from the touchline.

Hull attacked again down their right hand side and a high bomb by Pryce was dropped by full-back Gareth O’Brien giving Hull head and feed in the danger zone and then a beautiful pass from Scott Taylor put Jordan Thompson over under the posts, the conversion from Sneyd made it a 10 point lead with 12 minutes of the half remaining.

Within two minutes of that try Hull were over again as a beautiful move from right to left saw Tuimavave put Talanoa in at the left hand corner, this time Sneyd added the extras from the touchline to make it 22-6 to the Airlie Birds.

Hull were afforded another attacking opportunity after forcing a goal line drop out and a fantastic break from Pritchard saw the New Zealand legend hand on to his fellow countryman Tuimavave for the centre to take two men over the line with him with 34 minutes played, Sneyd was unable to add the conversion leaving Hull with a 20 point lead.

However for all their momentum Hull handed Salford an opportunity as they knocked on from the kick off and then gave away a soft penalty and then another which saw the visitors ramp up the pressure.

Then a knock on at an attempted interception gave the visitors more territory and possession with two minutes of the half left but eventually a nothing kick from Dobson went dead and gave Hull a deserved 20 meter restart.

Hull then saw out the remainder of the half with the only meaningful action being a kick that went dead before  two tackles finished the half to a rousing round of applause from the Old Faithful.

Hull started the second half in much the same way as they played most of the first making big meters and looking determined to bully the visitors out of the game and another attack soon brought reward as Leon Pryce somehow got a miracle pass to Josh Bowden for the prop forward to crash over under the posts with three minutes of the half played, the conversion from Sneyd stretched the advantage to 26 points for the home side.

Another surge into the opposition half saw a knock on from Salford and from the resulting scrum a flip out the backdoor from Sika Manu put youngster Jack Logan over just three minutes later to give them a 30 point lead, however Sneyd was adjudged to have missed the conversion.

Another frantic attack saw Salford lose the ball 20 meters from their own line and a pick up, kick and chase and dive from Shaul saw the full-back grab the latest try after 54 minutes, the conversion from Sneyd made it a 42-6 scoreline in favour of the black and white’s.

Finally Salford were able to set-up another attacking chance as Shaul mistakenly stayed behind the goal line after catching a kick and was tackled in-goal forcing Hull to drop out from their own line and they took full advantage as Junior Sa’u crossed on 58 minutes, ex Hull KR player Dobson missed the conversion much to the delight of the home supporters.

Just as the Red Devils looked like pressuring Hull’s defence again their own indiscipline cost them again as they gave away another penalty however they were just able to hold them at bay this time when referee Kendall awarded them a scrum.

A penalty soon after that saw them set up camp in the Hull danger zone again but this time Hull’s well-drilled defence kept them out rather too easily and eventually Pritchard caught a token kick from Dobson in front of his own posts.

Salford captain and former FC player Tommy Lee was then sin-binned for his part in a large fracas with less than quarter of an hour remaining on the clock.

Salford then added another frustrating score after they were given a silly penalty and Dobson’s cut-out pass put Niall Evalds over in the corner, Griffin missed the touchline conversion with 10 minutes left.

Salford’s next set saw another break and again Sa’u followed up to cross the whitewash, this time Dobson added the extras to make it 42-20.

Hull had become far too sloppy and their next attack showed it as Talanoa was forced into touch far too easily, however the Red Devils seemed to have lost some momentum and their next attack resulted in a nothing kick which was knocked on.

Hull finally saw the match out as Sneyd put a kick into touch and there was no time to form the scrum.

Radford was unable to confirm whether Gareth Ellis will be available for next weeks trip to the Stade Gilbert Brutus to face Catalans Dragons but that should become clearer on maybe Monday or Tuesday.

The removal of Mahe Fonua and Sika Manu was seemingly precautionary.

Man of the Match: Danny Houghton

Attendance 12,265

Penalties Hull 8 Salford 7

Goal Line Drop Out Hull 1 Salford 1

The Difference in Hull FC For 2016

After two pre season games, one for a mostly youth team and one for the first team, Hull FC fans are understandably excited having seen them rack up an impressive 106 points in what were, after all, first hit-outs for the two contrasting teams employed against dual reg partners Doncaster and deadly local rivals Hull KR, but what exactly is different with the black and white’s compared to previous years?

The answer would appear to be, and genuinely is, quite simple because suddenly Lee Radford’s men have gone from a largely defensive unit that could be as miserly as Ebenezer Scrooge himself, to being an effervescent, exciting attacking side who have the players to cause mayhem in any defence in Super League.

Obviously the main evidence of this was in the Clive Sullivan Memorial Trophy match against their nearest and dearest at the KC Stadium, but looking at the game at Doncaster there was also much that showed a new attacking fluency in the Airlie Birds ranks, not the least of which was the hat-trick of young winger Callum Lancaster.

Concentrating however on the derby match, what seemed to strike most people was Hull’s enthusiasm going forward. The defence was still strong until the last few minutes, but Hull now appear to have put a threateningly organised attack along with it.

Last year the Airlie Birds were 2nd in the league for clean breaks, unfortunately their major failing was an inability to back those breaks up and turn them into tries, against the Robins however that was a problem that was ruthlessly put to bed as a rampant new-look Hull put them to the sword.

As the breaks kept coming so did the support play and, most importantly, the tries with destructive power, pace, imagination and guile all very much on display in a performance which belied the fact that it was the first hit out for most of them this year.

With a pack that carries genuine grunt, strength, power and considerable ball-handling skill as displayed already, a half-back pairing with handling, kicking and running ability, a back five with pace to burn, support play and try-scoring ability and all armed with a supporting cast of hungry and massively talented youth, it’s a combination that must have Lee Radford rubbing his hands with glee

A pack including the likes of Frank Pritchard, Gareth Ellis, Sika Manu, Mark Minichiello, Liam Watts, Scott Taylor, Jordan Thompson, Jordan Abdull, Danny Houghton, Josh Bowden and Chris Green, backed up by Jansin Turgut, Richard Whiting, Jack Downs, Brad Fash, Masimbaashe Matongo and Danny Washbrook will be the main part of any success the black and white’s have this year.

But just as important as that frightening pack will be the likes of Jamie Shaul, Carlos Tuimavave, Fetuli Talanoa, Mahe Fonua, Steve Michaels, Jack Logan, Lee Smith, Leon Pryce and Marc Sneyd who will have to take advantage of the holes that will be punched in several defensive lines throughout the season and being very ably backed up by Reece Dean, Callum Lancaster and Harry Tyson-Wilson etc.

With a squad like that 2016 could just be the year the transition comes to fruition.

Hull FC In 2016- Preview

Hull FC will hit the new Super League season with very much increased fire power after gathering some very impressive signings and an ever growing list of youth players coming through the ranks who have either already graced, or are expected to grace, Super League this year.

The marquee signing for the men from the KC Stadium is undoubtedly Frank ‘The Tank’ Pritchard, hence the tag line ‘Every Army Needs A Tank’ the 32 year old rugby league icon is sure to be a big cult hit with the Old Faithful and is a genuine coup for the competition as well as Hull.

But another very shrewd bit of business by coach Lee Radford could prove to be the signing of Sika Manu who was pinched by the black and white’s from under the noses of champions Leeds Rhinos as the lure of the strong history between the Airlie Birds and New Zealand proved stronger than Manu, and the Rhinos, could resist.

With NRL Grand Final and World Club Championship winner and Tongan international Mahe Fonua and former Junior Kiwis player Carlos Tuimavave joining the Polynesian contingent which already included Fetuli Talanoa and Feka Palea’aesina a strong bond has no doubt been formed which could prove vital to Hull’s hopes.

With top try scorer for them last season Tom Lineham, England player Joe Westerman (both Warrington) cult hero Jordan Rankin (Wests Tigers) and barnstorming prop Mickey Paea (Newcastle Knights) having departed Hull do have some rebuilding to do.

But Fonua is very much the sort of player who can blossom in Super League and fill the sizeable boots of Lineham, when a player can be seen teasing Greg Inglis before finally dotting the ball down for a try in the corner in the NRL you tend to realise you have got a cult player on your hands, and his defending is infinitely stronger than that of the flying pig which could also prove vital.

The protracted arrival of Scott Taylor has also seen Hull replace Paea with some more severe grunt that will help Hull bully teams more.

Last year Hull were 2nd in the table for clean breaks but one problem for them was an exasperating inability to finish off those breaks especially when Lineham was struggling for form or out of the team, the answers to that problem would appear to be Tuimavave, lightning fast full-back Jamie Shaul and jet-heeled youngster Jack Logan.

Halves Leon Pryce and Marc Sneyd will also have no shortage of competition from Tuimavave (signed as a Centre but who has played most of his rugby in the halves or at full-back) and youth players Reece Dean and Harry Tyson-Wilson who will start their season in the newly formed under 23s side.

Given the number 13 shirt people will expect teenage sensation Jordan Abdull to start at loose-forward, and against Salford Red Devils in their opening game he probably will, but don’t be surprised to see the rampaging Manu taking over that role against the more physical teams while Abdull will be employed with his kicking and ball-handling skills against the more defensive units.

Club Captain Gareth Ellis is expected move up to prop more this year and the established front row will be ably supported by the likes of Chris Green and Josh Bowden, whilst Richard Whiting, Jordan Thompson and club stalwart Kirk Yeaman will provide substantial support for an already frighteningly powerful looking back row that will also have Mark Minichiello in the mix.

Danny Washbrook returns to his old side so Vice-Captain Danny Houghton can maybe concentrate more on his attacking game rather than just being the tackling machine of the side.

Houghton, and Hull, should definitely benefit from this as his distribution and spark has seemed somewhat wayward in recent times due to the massive amount of energy he loses from repeatedly tackling to get his team out of scrapes that have sometimes been caused by his understandable errors, and those of his team-mates.

What will be expected of the black and white side of this divided city is open to debate with some experts expecting mid-table and a seven week hurrah in the Super 8s and at least one noted expert, Martyn Sadler, touting them for a possible top 4 finish as long as they keep the squad healthy.

Hull are the perennial sleeping-giant and the Old Faithful have had to endure many false dawns (I should know as a member of the Old Faithful) but with arguably the strongest pack in Super League, I certainly hope, it could be a very good year for the Airlie Birds.

I would say top 6 is where Hull should aim for, possibly higher, and don’t rule out a big run at the Challenge Cup if a bit of fortune favours them.

FC Voices Hull FC Fans Forum

Hull FC supporter’s group FC Voices organised another fans forum on Monday evening which saw Hull FC owner Adam Pearson, head coach Lee Radford and new signings Mahe Fonua and Sika Manu on a panel to be grilled by supporters who were either present at the event at the New Walton Street Club or listening on BBC Radio Humberside.

Several laughs were caused by Radio Humberside sports reporter Gwilym Lloyd’s inability at different points to get Fonua’s name correct and representatives of FC Voices made sure the evening was a great success with their usual tireless efforts.

The panel fielded many questions about subjects such as the new signings and about former Super League Grand Final winner and Harry Sunderland Trophy winner Lee Smith training with the squad to allowing Joe Westerman and Tom Lineham to leave for Warrington Wolves and what is expected of front row players Scott Taylor, Danny Houghton and Liam Watts.

Afterwards Sika Manu said he’s “Very excited to be here, they’re a good bunch.”

He went on to say that he thinks Marc Sneyd is the most exciting young player at the club and Frank Pritchard will bring good experience and good leadership.

Asked how difficult it will be for him as a back rower to oust Club Captain Gareth Ellis and player of the year Mark Minichiello he replied: “That’ll be very difficult to do, Mark particularly played very well last season.”

He said the move over to England had gone smoothly and his partner will be arriving in the next few days and one thing that certainly won’t surprise is one of his main reasons for agreeing to move here, he said: “Hull FC’s reputation with kiwi players was a massive reason behind my decision to move here.”

Manu, Fonua and Radford then stayed on to sign autographs and have photos taken with supporters.

Westy Gone West

So Joe Westerman is the latest player to leave the KC Stadium and head west for the big cash on offer from Simon Moran and Warrington Wolves at the Halliwell Jones Stadium (how are they even under the salary cap must be the first question?)

What to say about the 25 year old who has 1 England cap to his name! The boy from Pontefract was schooled by Hull FC in the academy set-up before he signed his first professional contract for his local side Castleford Tigers for the 2007 season, in 2010 the Airlie Birds came calling and signed him in a blaze of publicity.

When he first arrived at Hull he was billed as the future Steve ‘Knocker’ Norton who also left Castleford for East Yorkshire 30+ years earlier. It was maybe a tad unfair to put the 20 year old under that sort of pressure but life at Hull FC is never straightforward due to the aspirations of the Old Faithful.

Five years later, after one Challenge Cup Final and one England cap, he’s headed for pastures new joining what would appear to be a worrying trend of young British players who have left such as Tom Lineham, Ben Crooks and Tom Briscoe.

In five years at the club Westy has had three different coaches, Richard Agar, Peter Gentle and Lee Radford and it has to be said it was only in 2014, Radford’s first season in charge which ended in dreadful failure, that Hull FC really saw the best of him and that’s why he gained international recognition.

Since then he hasn’t been the same player and, with 12 months left on his contract and no negotiations over a new one, it’s very understandable that the Black and White’s have taken the decision to take the big money on offer and re-invest it where it’s probably needed more in the team.

No matter how many people may argue with me I do genuinely believe, and maybe some others might surprise me and agree, Hull FC do have the best set of back-rowers, maybe even the best pack, in Super League for 2016, something tells me that a pack with the likes of Gareth Ellis, Mark Minichiello, Frank Pritchard, Sika Manu, Jordan Thompson, Richard Whiting, Dean Hadley and young guns Jordan Abdull, Jansin Turgut, Brad Fash and Jack Downs to call on in their back row will be able to easily absorb the loss of one misfiring loose forward.

The Airlie Birds have let it be known that the money received for Westerman will be put to use for a high profile back who is currently on the radar, I won’t mention names because that’s not my thing, I’ll just wait and see which I wish so many other people would do as well sometimes.

We’ll wish Joe good luck as we send him on his way to Cheshire, to another mid-table team much like ourselves, and indeed some of the lady fans will miss him with his boyish good looks, but the overwhelming feeling here on the Black and White side of Hull, East Yorkshire, is that it’s pretty good business getting £150,000 for a player who would have left for nothing in 12 months time anyway.

As for Joe the player, it seems to have been a frustrating chapter for both club and player which is probably best put down to experience and time to move on.

Joe Westerman

Hull FC Season review 2015

It was billed as the 150th anniversary year of Hull FC, despite the feeble attempt at billing it as the 15th anniversary by a small amount of fans from the other side of Hull, but while the Airlie Birds can point to clear progress on their dismal 2014 Super League campaign and the fact that they currently hold the bragging rights over their close neighbour’s Hull KR having won the derby series 2-1 and finished above them in the table the end of term report once again looks back at a very frustrating campaign when the sleeping giant failed to awaken from its slumbers.

It all started rather well as a black and white army converged on the birthplace of the game Huddersfield as a new look FC side started their campaign in emphatic fashion by inflicting an embarrassing defeat on the Giants who most experts expected to be genuine Grand Final contenders, nil-ling them in the process.

The next game saw a single point defeat to Warrington Wolves in Hull’s first home game of the season, despite that setback everything still looked very positive as Lee Radford’s men looked very competitive and able to handle the inevitable extra pressure that came with such a landmark season doubled with the start of a new experiment for the First Utility Super League with the tag line of “Every minute matters”.

The first alarm bells started to ring with a shock defeat at big spending Salford when the Red Devils found it far too easy to score points against a side who had only conceded one try in their opening two games, which was scored by the reigning Steve Prescott Man of Steel Daryl Clark.

Hull’s next game, at home against eventual treble winners Leeds Rhinos, almost encapsulated the Black and White’s season in 80 minutes, holding a deserved 12-0 lead at half time Hull were applauded off the pitch and seemingly back in the groove as they produced some of the best rugby they had played up to that point in the still fledgling season, what followed was frankly quite embarrassing as the Rhinos cut loose and scored 43 unanswered points too easily in the second 40 minutes.

Playing away to eventual Grand Finalists Wigan Warriors in their next game the Airlie Birds showed some genuine dogged determination, guts and pride but fell just short by a single point for the second time in the campaign, although a better more controlled pass in the last minute would surely have seen them gain the reward their efforts deserved as 2014 player of the year Fetuli Talanoa would surely have scored a match-winning try if the ball hadn’t flown into touch.

After that near miss at the DW Stadium Hull finally gave their fans something to shout about as Catalans Dragons were brushed aside far easier than the 11 point winning margin would seemingly suggest. Hull were then unlucky in defeat away to Castleford Tigers and then came the lowest point of the season without doubt as Hull KR breezed into the KC Stadium and left with the two points and bragging rights on offer far too easily as the Airlie Birds produced probably their worst performance of the season and almost gift-wrapped the game for Chris Chester’s side.

After that contemptuous low the Old Faithful still traveled in large numbers to the home of reigning champions St. Helens in the first game of the now annual Steve Prescott Memorial Trophy and a stunning comeback that few would have thought possible at the start of the Easter Weekend was capped by one of the tries of the season from full-back Jamie Shaul as Hull banished the memories of the previous Thursday night with a stirring 20-28 victory at Langtree Park.

Next up for the Airlie Birds was a home game against Widnes Vikings, on that evening Tom Lineham proved once again what a potent finisher he is with a hat-trick including two 95 meter interception tries, after that the Airlie Birds hit the road to Wembley dispensing of Sheffield Eagles at Bramall Lane in comfortable, if not entirely convincing, fashion before returning to Super League matters with a truly dismal performance against Huddersfield Giants in which Hull only just avoided the ignominy that they inflicted on the Giants on the opening weekend with a very late try by Steve Michaels.

The following week was quite a comedy with next opponents Salford Red Devils asking the Airlie Birds to postpone the game due to the injury and suspension crisis they were going through which Hull, understandably, flatly refused so the game went ahead as scheduled, despite their pleas and protestations the team built expensively by Dr Marwan Koukash arrived much healthier than first envisaged, sporting seven internationals, a spirited performance almost saw them through, but once again a gutsy comeback which was crowned by an individual barnstorming try by Setaimata Sa saw Hull eek out a victory that would have been predicted.

Lee Radford then told his side to take off the shackles and start to attack with more purpose, this appeared to be going slightly wrong for Hull in the next game away to Warrington Wolves but, yet again, Hull showed a spirit that proved they never knew when they were beaten as they came from 10 points behind in the last 10 minutes to grab a priceless victory with a drop goal from Marc Sneyd with just three seconds remaining on the clock to send the Old Faithful into very noisy raptures and gain sweet revenge for their single point defeat earlier in the year.

Castleford Tigers were the visitors to the KC Stadium in the 6th round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup and a hat-trick from new young signing Curtis Naughton saw the previous years beaten finalists put to the sword in sizzling fashion as more evidence of Hull taking off the shackles was put on full display.

However the positive mood that was sweeping the team and supporters was soon dampened down as Saints came to town and won an arm wrestle game although not by enough to rob Hull of the Steve Prescott Memorial Trophy.

Magic Weekend, however, delivered another high note as close neighbours Hull KR, holding smug bragging rights since the Easter derby, were taught a very harsh lesson as they were thoroughly whipped by an arrogant Hull in record fashion as they ran up a record 46 points in a competitive derby topping the 44 points they had hit Rovers with in 2008, at this point I suppose for the benefit of certain friends that Rovers do still hold the record for the biggest winning margin by 36 points in 2007.

The following week saw Hull travel to Widnes for what was seen as a defining match as both sides were competing for the coveted Super 8s spot with just 1 league point separating them, with the Vikings storming into a 12 point lead it was fast starting to look like a forlorn journey for Hull, however another Tom Lineham hat-trick allied with a try from Leon Pryce and a delicious kick and gather try by Marc Sneyd swept Hull home to a convincing victory.

Unfortunately after that success Hull’s season began to almost implode with defeats away to Catalans Dragons and Leeds before being unceremoniously dumped out of the cup by the Rhinos at the KC Stadium and then an embarrassing defeat at basement side Wakefield Trinity Wildcats, in this topsy turvy season however the Black and White’s rallied once again and, in their second double header, they gained revenge over the Wildcats, by now being coached by former Hull coach Brian Smith, with a victory which maybe wasn’t really deserved but, after a three game losing streak, it was a priceless victory which breathed much needed new life into a faltering season.

The top 8 cause was then further aided with another gutsy comeback victory at the KC Stadium against Castleford Tigers as the Tigers were given little choice by the intensity of Hull’s performance but to surrender an eight point half time advantage.

The game that mattered most though was taking place in front of the Sky cameras the following Friday at the KC Lightstream Stadium as the biggest rivalry in Super League was pushed to the forefront with the promise of victory holding the key to the door of the much vaunted Super 8s and defeat promised the ignominy of a place in the dreaded Middle 8s and the knowledge that it was your closest rivals who would have put you there.

Everything seemed to be going wrong in the derby match, losing their two most influential players Leon Pryce and captain Gareth Ellis to injury in the heat of the battle in the first half, trailing 12-4 when they lost Ellis to a snapped Achilles Hull looked in desperate trouble on a ground where only Leeds and Castleford had previously triumphed this season, but that fast growing resolve was soon on show again as Hull out-fought and out-thought their nearest and dearest enemies to take charge with another stirring comeback which saw them take the lead by half time and then produce a masterclass in how to control an opponent and a game at arms length to wrap up the points, the bragging rights and the place in the Super 8s in one evenings work which led to jubilant celebrations among the Old Faithful.

With so much attention and emphasis having been placed on the derby match it was probably not a surprise that the first phase of the season for Hull ended with a whimper as Wigan Warriors arrived at the KC Stadium and inflicted a heavy defeat on the home side.

The Super 8s was something of an anti-climax for the Airlie Birds due to the fact that they were playing teams who were in some cases superior sides who were always expected to be pushing for the semi-finals and a trip to Old Trafford and the Grand Final, having started brightly away to Castleford with two early tries the old frailties once again took over and Hull slipped to an unfortunate defeat but nobody could really say the Tigers didn’t deserve their victory.

The following week Hull again traveled to the home of the defending champions and, as on Easter Monday, Saints were ambushed by yet another comeback, including another hat-trick by Curtis Naughton, and soundly beaten 22-32.

The epitaph on this season will show that Hull lost all of their last 5 games, however it must be said that is far from the end story under the circumstances. With a growing injury list which included Gareth Ellis, Leon Pryce, Josh Bowden, Chris Green, Steve Michaels, Jordan Thompson, Setaimata Sa, Joe Westerman, Kirk Yeaman, Fetuli Talanoa and Dean Hadley for at least some, if not all, their Super 8s games Hull could possibly have been excused for asking to delay some games due to their unprecedented injury crisis, however no such Salford-like request was forthcoming, or even entertained, by the Black and White’s as they put their trust in youth.

A week before their Wembley date against Hull KR, Leeds rolled into town and rested some stars although not many as they still had Challenge Cup Final places up for grabs, Hull had some senior stars playing, such as new joint-players of the year Mark Minichiello and Liam Watts, but there was also more than just a smattering of under 19s players present in the match-day squad and, indeed, the 17 man match team, the Rhinos inevitably won but, according to Rhinos coach Brian McDermott afterwards, only because they got a few opportunities that only men like Ryan Hall and Rob Burrow could finish despite their inability in certain quarters to breakdown an enthusiastic Hull side.

Unfortunately the down side to using lots of youth is sometimes it breeds inconsistency and so it proved as Warrington Wolves were handed the points on a plate at the Halliwell Jones Stadium two weeks later, more injuries ensued in that game and Hull were only able to name 18 men instead of the regulation 19 in advance of the trip to Wigan for their one and only appearance in front of the Sky cameras in the Super 8s the following Friday.

In a match that was seen as a chance for the battle-hardened Warriors, who were just coming into top form, to put a severe dent in Leeds Rhinos points difference advantage at the summit of the table, Hull had to name seven youth players and were given no chance and were indeed tipped to succumb to a worse beating than 60-0 thrashing the Warriors had inflicted on a similarly severely under-strength Hull KR earlier in the season but somebody forgot to give the script to the kindergarten Hull side.

Although the Warriors squeezed out a thoroughly and totally undeserved 30-24 win a Hull team containing Curtis Naughton, Jordan Abdull, Jack Logan, Masimbaashe Matongo, Jansin Turgut, Brad Fash and Jack Downs left a more than lasting impression on the crowd in the DW Stadium and, no doubt, had fans of other teams sat at home glued to their television sets and cheering them on as they gave Shaun Wane’s side the fright of their lives.

Hull then returned home for their heritage week games against Huddersfield Giants and Catalans Dragons, with youthful enthusiasm on their side, but also a great deal of in-experience, the Airlie Birds fall to two more narrow defeats that could surely have been avoided with a bit more know-how.

The 14 point margin of victory for the Giants looks much more comfortable than it was, a point made very succinctly by coach Paul Anderson, the four point victory for the Dragons didn’t flatter them but could again have been avoided by Hull if only tries had been scored further infield rather than right in the corner every time.

Reaching the Super 8s was set as a minimum requirement by owner Adam Pearson at the start of the season and that was duly achieved. There was also some major highlights in the season for instance the two victories over Hull KR, the manner of them and what both meant to the supporters cannot be overestimated and the emergence of some genuinely exciting youth is a major plus.

The down-side, it was yet another false dawn in a lot of ways, certain players have clearly just been taking money from the club and not giving much in return and, in my humble opinion, Tom Lineham should never have been sold but that’s now water under the bridge and we’ll have to get used to the sight of him in primrose and blue.

The up-side, Hull FC do have a lot of very exciting youth that they need to keep hold of in future, the likes of Jack Logan, Callum Lancaster, Jordan Abdull, Jansin Turgut, Brad Fash, Jack Downs, Masimbaashe Matongo and Curtis Naughton are all seemingly very exciting players and that’s before we think about the likes of Reece Dean and Harry Tyson-Wilson.

Future. It’s no secret Hull do have some financial problems mainly due to having to pay off dead wood with some big money plus the big payout to Willie Manu but with great support, season pass membership sales, merchandising etc I’m sure they can get over the worst of it.

New Signings. Frank Pritchard, Sika Manu, Scott Taylor, Danny Washbrook, Carlos Tuimavave and Mahe Fonua are genuinely very impressive additions especially the forwards who will be added to an already mean pack that is bristling with quality.

Controversy. There is clearly absolutely no need for a ‘Super Academy’ merger with Hull KR.

Positive. The creation of an under 23s side with Richard Horne as its boss will give certain players more chance to develop and will hopefullt dispense with the ridiculous dual-registration idea.

Derby Match Jamie Shaul Jack Logan

NEWS/SPORT...with James Smailes, 06/11/14  :  Hull Daily Mail Sporting Champion Awards, held at the Wilberforce Suite, KC Stadium, Hull.  Pictured, Sporting Champion Award Winner, Jordan Abdull.  Picture: Jerome Ellerby

Sika_Manu-1200 Danny Washbrook Mahe+Fonua+NRL+Rd+23+Storm+v+Titans+lzIeGJEH0zXl Carlostuimavave 1200-Frank-Pritchard Scott Taylor