The Enthusiasm Of Professional Youth, With Some Seniors!

It was meant to be so cut and dried, the lambs of youth from the KC Stadium, to the slaughter by the battle hardened Warriors at the DW Stadium, but somebody forgot to tell the kindergarten team.

The regulation stuff was out the way early 6-0, 12-0, 18-0 in half an hour and inevitability seemed to be taking over with slightly slower intent than was expected but intent all the same, but still the youngsters, with their smattering of experienced players stuck to their guns.

The game plan seemed simple for Hull FC, frustrate Wigan as much as possible but suddenly they also needed to find some attacking intent or just lay down and let the home side have their wicked way and boost their points difference to the sort of magnitude that was still expected of them.

Then the Warriors learned a lesson as the break approached, if you over-elaborate near the Hull line and put the ball down, don’t do it when Jamie Shaul is in the vicinity, they did and 95 meters later they were no longer looking at keeping Lee Radford’s men scoreless.

Goal one, getting points on the board, achieved and within a blink of an eye the hugely enthusiastic kids were becoming a cat among pigeon’s as young Jack Logan made two England internationals and an assured full-back look badly out of place in a team of all the talents as he brushed them away with embarrassing ease.

A six point deficit at half-time was not supposed to be even contemplated let alone a genuine reality, as evidenced by the beast of the dugout prowling the touchline licking his lips at the opportunity to get his malfunctioning machine down the tunnel to the changing room.

With energy and direction plus a bundle of desire the young men came back out for the second half and continued to answer the questions asked of them despite the seeming lowering of the energy among the elder statesmen, Shaun Wane’s men were supposed to have them beat within the first 20 minutes of the match, surely the first 20 minutes of the second half would be decisive!?

The answer to that was a massively emphatic no, even the video referee couldn’t help the Lancashire outfit when a teenager was taken down by a prop in front of the posts.

Soon after that the prop did get on the score sheet, would that, or the surprise two points that were taken with relish shortly afterwards to give them a 14 point lead with a palpable sense of relief, be definitive?

Of course it wasn’t as simple as that, the Airlie Birds kept making more clean breaks than you normally see in a hospital accident and emergency department and the threat of tries was ever-present around the team wearing black and purple and what duly followed seemed, and indeed was, genuinely inevitable.

With thoughts of giving their points difference a major boost gone, you imagined the Warriors just concentrating on taking the sting out of the team with an average age of 21, which was pushed up by a 32 and a 33-year-old.

Then up step international cap contender Liam Watts with a big reminder of his outstanding quality and pace as the mercury level in the stadium was increased and then the reliable left foot of Marc Sneyd put the ball in the hands of Jordan Rankin and a try on the plate for the young Australian.

Surely now we could get back to normal, well until Danny Houghton’s right boot gave Logan the opportunity to leave another England international, Josh Charnley, floundering in his jet-heeled wake to make it a two point ball game.

Towards the end the home side were playing for time, desperate to hold on to their ill-deserved lead but, with the help of their departing left winger and the video referee, hold onto it they did after several squeaks of their collective cherry and white bum.

Lee Radford said: “We’re nearly there… and it’s up to us to turn that nearly into a do.”

Playing like this the silver polish will be staying locked away in Wigan again barring miracles, but a question remains and has a growing amount of voices and evidence, is an academy merger really any benefit to Super League side Hull FC on this evidence? Answers on a postcard.

The advice is watch out for the next update on Friday night when Huddersfield Giants head to Hull if you think anymore evidence is required?

Jamie Shaul

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

Jack Logan Derby Match

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Wigan Warriors 30 Hull FC 24. Airlie Birds Youth Claim Moral Victory With Gutsy Performance

Injury ravaged Hull FC frightened the living daylights out of Grand Final contenders Wigan Warriors in a classic Super 8s match at the DW Stadium.

Hull coach Lee Radford trusted youth due to their unprecedented injury crisis with no fewer than six academy players as Zimbabwean born prop Masimbaashe Matongo made his debut from the bench and Jansin Turgut made his second appearance alongside Brad Fash, Jordan Abdull, Jack Logan and Jack Downs.

The game started with a very flat atmosphere as both sides started cautiously and defences were undoubtedly on top in the first few minutes.

Just as Wigan appeared to create their first opportunity with a fast move from right to left winger Joe Burgess put the ball down with open ground in front of him.

From the resulting scrum Hull then moved the ball to their left and Curtis Naughton made a dash only to be brought down into touch by a tackle that looked a touch high by Warriors full-back Ryan Hampshire.

The Warriors then went straight back to their left side with George Williams making a dart down the wing before handing inside for 19 year old centre Oliver Gildart to race in after 10 minutes, the conversion by Hampshire gave the home side a six point advantage.

Hull youngster Jack Logan then made a dangerous break from inside his own half and had the Warriors defence on the run until he tried a pass which was taken somewhat fortuitously by Burgess despite him seemingly knocking the ball on.

Wigan then forced a last tackle play with several passes but the covering Airlie Birds defence got back in numbers to halt the danger 10 meters from their own line as they refused to just lie down.

Wigan soon extended their advantaged as a fast move to the right side saw Anthony Gelling draw winger Naughton in before putting Josh Charnley over in the corner in the 22nd minute, the touchline conversion by Hampshire gave them a 12 point lead.

Unfortunately for the badly under strength black and whites the Warriors were finding yards rather easy to come by but Hull did keep making clean breaks which would have upset Warriors boss Shaun Wane.

Another break by Jordan Rankin after Matty Smith knocked on near the Hull line saw the Airlie Birds again press the Warriors defence until an unfortunate pass hit Rankin and ballooned over Tom Lineham into touch.

Wigan were then given a fortuitous scrum when a short kick was unluckily fumbled by Logan giving them a scrum 20 meters from the Hull line but a move to the right was snuffed out after a forward pass from Gelling to Charnley was pulled up by referee James Child.

Warriors forward Sam Powell was then very lucky to face no further action after clearly gouging Lineham’s eye which saw the winger taken off for further treatment.

Mark Minichiello was then harshly penalised for a ball steal in a 1-on-1 tackle giving the Warriors another penalty and eventually John Bateman crossed under the posts, the conversion from Hampshire made it 18-0 after 32 minutes.

Another Wigan attack threatened another try but then a dropped ball presented full-back Jamie Shaul with a chance to run and the Hull man raced 95 meters for his 8th try of the season, the touchline conversion from Marc Sneyd brought the black and white’s back into the game with four minutes to go to the break.

Two minutes later the Airlie Birds were in again as a fast move to the left side saw Logan dispense with one tackle from England scrum half Matty Smith and then  rounded two more defenders all too easily to score, the conversion from Sneyd reduced the deficit to six points with less than a minute to half time.

Hull started the second half in good mood and after their first set in the half Sneyd came within a whisker of a 40/20 but the ball just went into touch short of the 20 meter line much to the home sides relief.

The Warriors were afforded the first chance of the half as Minichiello made an uncharacteristic error as he dropped a pass inside his own 20 meter area but a well organised defence from Hull kept them at bay forcing Smith into a kick which was fielded by Naughton to force a goal line drop out.

A harsh penalty for interference against Matongo then gave the Warriors more possession and territory but a nothing attack was easily repelled by a vice-like Hull defnce as a Warriors player was forced into touch under a pack of defenders.

Another Warriors attack then saw another kick to the Hull left and this time Naughton managed to tap the ball back for Sneyd to take the ball and bring it away from the line again.

Another comical attack from the Warriors then saw a rare mistake from Shaul as he failed to take a grubber kick in, the loose ball was thrown inside to Powell but as he slid over the line he was foiled by Danny Houghton’s hand forcing the ball clear resulting in a 20 meter restart for Hull.

Hull then attacked again as they sensed another chance but Naughton was stopped less than 10 meters short and then a wide kick by Sneyd was knocked on.

Wigan then thought they had another try after Abdull spilled a kick and Bateman grabbed the loose ball to touchdown but the video referee disallowed the try after Flower was adjudged to have tackled the young stand-off without the ball.

Another Wigan attack then saw Josh Charnley held up over the line but then on the next play Flower forced his way over the whitewash, the conversion from Hampshire stretched the Warriors lead to an undeserved 12 points with 18 minutes left to play.

Hull then came again as Fash made a dash in broken play but was then penalised for pushing Hampshire off him trying to get a quick play the ball.

Wigan then attacked again and another kick was floated out to Charnley’s wing but again Naughton was equal to it to push the ball out to touch in goal.

Wigan were then awarded a penalty in front of the posts and, uncharacteristically they opted to take the two points and Hampshire duly obliged to make it 26-12 with 13 minutes left.

Hull then made a great break through Steve Prescott Man of Steel contender Liam Watts and with the Warriors defence at sixes and sevens a kick right by Sneyd was taken in by Rankin and the departing Australian dotted the ball down to score, the conversion by Sneyd brought them back within eight points.

Hull then cut the Wigan defence apart embarrassingly easily again and a deft kick by Houghton saw Logan race up outside Charnley, scoop the ball in, and leave the England winger floundering in his wake to race in unopposed, the conversion by Sneyd made it a two point ball game with eight minutes remaining.

Taulima Tautai was then sin-binned for a dangerous tackle on Mickey Paea with less than seven minutes left to play.

Wigan then grabbed a totally undeserved win as Super League’s leading try-scorer Burgess rounded off a move down the left hand side with a palpable sense of relief to leave a final score of 30-24.

Penalties Wigan 5 Hull FC 3

Goal Line Drop Outs Wigan 0 Hull FC 2

Attendance 12,028

Man of the Match (Shared) Curtis Naughton and Jack Logan

Jack Logan

Hull FC, Youth and Leeds Rhinos

The average age of the Hull FC squad against Leeds Rhinos was 23 years old, and it was pushed up to that by the presence of 33 year old Mark Minichiello and 32 year old Feka Palea’aesina.

During the match at the KC Stadium the Rhinos, in certain quarters, looked like a team who had a trip to Wembley for the Ladbroke’s Challenge Cup Final on their mind, Hull looked like a side who had youthful energy and desire on theirs.

As would be expected it was the treble chasing Rhinos who came out on top 22-36, but not until they had a thorough examination from a fledgling group of young players with a smattering of senior, experienced players.

In recent weeks and months the defensively robust Airlie Birds have suddenly removed the shackles and started flinging the ball around and, at times, it has worked to great affect, although probably not enough to worry the bigger sides like a Leeds Rhinos or a Wigan Warriors.

Since Lee Radford has been in charge of the team on the black and white side of Hull one thing he hasn’t been afraid to do is to bring his youth players into the first team set-up.

Callum Lancaster, Jordan Abdull, Jack Logan, Jansin Turgut, Brad Fash, Jack Downs, Curtis Naughton and brothers Harry and Bobby Tyson-Wilson have all been given their opportunity to show what they can do and have seemingly dealt with it with great maturity and zest.

Against the best team in the land the baton was handed to Naughton (who scored a hat-trick at the home of the Super League champions a week earlier) Fash, Downs and, dare we say it, first team regulars Logan and Abdull.

While the talk in Hull, on both sides, is of the creation of a ‘Super Academy’ by merging the academies of the bitter rivals Hull FC and Hull KR there is outrage and disgust and incredulity at a statement by Hull FC chairman Adam Pearson who stated that it is necessary because there isn’t enough of a talent pool available for the two clubs to have separate academies.

Never mind the fact that the black and white’s academy was recently rated by the RFL as ‘Outstanding’ if you wanted a sign of the talent being produced you need only look on the pitch at the KC Stadium.

Such was the impression made by this very young Hull side it prompted Rhinos head-coach Brian McDermott to announce that a 14 point victory margin for his side was harsh on the home side and he “Couldn’t have complained if we had lost.”

Any team needs its elder statesmen but it also needs its youth production line and, right now, it has to be said that the production line at Hull FC is looking very healthy, and as evidenced by their upcoming trip to Wembley to face the Rhinos, there isn’t much wrong with the one at Hull KR either although they maybe do have a bit of catching up to do, although a ‘Good’ rating from the RFL suggests they are heading in the right direction.

The man of the match for Hull FC last night was another product of the youth set-up at Hull FC, Jamie Shaul had been a bit of a forgotten man but he took his chance with a sublime try against St. Helens last week and took a beautiful offload from Jack Downs to race 90 meters to the line last night.

Add to that his creation of tries for Steve Michaels and Jordan Rankin, the man who has largely kept him out of the team this year, and it must almost be like bringing in a new signing for Hull.

It seems to me that the future in Hull is very bright in black and white, so why fix what ain’t broken?

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

Jack Logan Jamie Shaul Derby Match

Hull FC 22 Leeds Rhinos 36, Airlie Birds Top 4 Hopes Ended Despite Brave Effort

Hull FC were left ruing some basic mistakes as they pushed the table-topping Leeds Rhinos all the way but were ultimately undone by their more clinical opponents leaving them feeling what might have been as their slim top 4 hopes were dealt a decisive blow in the Super 8s.

Lee Radford brought back Jack Logan, Steve Michaels and Feka Palea’aesina after they missed the win against Super League champions St. Helens at Langtree Park last week.

Tom Lineham dropped out of the side that stunned the champions for the visit of the Rhinos to the KC Stadium while Jamie Shaul kept hold of his place along with hat-trick hero Curtis Naughton and teenagers Brad Fash and Jack Downs also deservedly kept their places.

The first chance came to the Airlie Birds in the first minute as Logan made an impressive break down the left before passing to Michaels who was just brought down short and forced into touch.

Despite the bright start by the home side it was the Rhinos who drew first blood after a devestating break by Zak Hardaker saw them go from one end to the other before the ball was finally handed to Ash Handley to dive over in the sixth minute, the conversion from captain Kevin Sinfield gave them a six point advantage completely against the run of play.

However it didn’t take the home side long to draw level as another foray into the Rhinos danger zone saw Mark Minichiello completely wrong-foot the defence to stroll through under the posts, the inevitable conversion from Marc Sneyd restored parity after 10 minutes.

Hull were clearly willing to chance their arm against the Wembley-bound Rhinos and Logan made another significant break in broken field but his final pass was ruled a touch forward by referee Joe Cobb to give the Rhinos a relieving scrum inside their own 20 meter area.

Leeds were afforded another chance against the run of play after being awarded a harsh penalty but an organised and resilient defence from the black and white’s kept them at bay.

The second quarter of the game descended into a multitude of mistakes as both sides continually coughed up possession and territory with embarrassing regularity.

Finally Hull seemed to get hold of the ball and use it with some purpose after a kick from Leeds went out on the full leading to them being handed possession just inside the Rhinos half but the chance came to nothing as Sneyd’s grubber went dead in goal.

Soon after that Naughton made a dash from inside his own 20 meter area before finally being caught 30 meters from the Leeds line, another Sneyd grubber went through and had to be kicked dead by Handley to force a goal line drop out.

Another dab through from the boot of Sneyd then unfortunately hit the outside of the post padding to deny the on-rushing Joe Westerman and give the Rhinos desperate defence a chance to run the ball back into the field of play with five minutes to go to the break.

The Rhinos gained another chance as they were given a scrum in Hull territory when referee Cobb deemed that a pass had gone forward before hitting the ground, the resulting attack then saw Jamie Peacock held up over the line by a committed and tenacious defence leaving the score at 6-6 at the break.

The Rhinos were the first side to force a chance in the early part of the 2nd half with a break in midfield but eventually Jimmy Keinhorst was held up just short of the Hull line as they started the half with more purpose.

Hull suddenly sparked into life as Jordan Rankin made a break in the middle of the park, Jamie Shaul took over and then gave a deft pass to Michaels for the Australian to cut inside and give the home side the lead in the 48th minute, Sneyd was unable to add the kick from wide out to leave the hosts leading 10-6.

The league leaders were soon on attack however after being awarded a very harsh penalty and eventually the pressure told as Carl Ablett crossed the whitewash on the left side to bring the sides level in the 52nd minute, the conversion from Sinfield edged the Rhinos back in front by two.

The Rhinos were seemingly taking the game by the scruff of the neck and were finding yards alarmingly easy to come by and another break from Hardaker saw Rob Burrow race in under the posts to stretch their advantage after 55 minutes, the conversion from Sinfield took them two scores in front and in the blink of an eye Hull looked to be facing mission impossible to save their ailing play-off hopes.

On Hull’s next attack another grubber from Sneyd found its way through and the Old Faithful thought Rankin had touched it down but referee Cobb rightly ruled he had knocked it on rather than grounding it.

That setback didn’t seem to worry Hull though as a minute later Jamie Shaul raced onto an offload 10 meters from the home sides line to race 90 meters to touchdown under the posts, the conversion from Sneyd brought Hull back within two points with 20 minutes left to play.

Hull though made a mess of the short kick-off from Leeds and Ryan Hall gleefully took full advantage to race 40 meters to take Leeds out of range again and the conversion by Sinfield again made it a two score lead for the Rhinos.

However Hull weren’t done yet and a chip over the top of the Leeds defensive line from Jordan Abdull was snapped up by Shaul moving at the speed of a race car and then a delightful pass put Rankin in at the right corner, the majestic touchline conversion from Sneyd again brought Hull back within two points with 15 minutes left to play.

Two minutes later Hull forced a big mistake as a high kick was spilled by Hardaker under pressure from three players 10 meters from his own line but the pressure was relieved with a knock-on by Hull two tackles later.

Another high kick from Hull was then dropped by Ash Golding 10 meters from the Rhinos line and Hull again pressed from the scrum but a wayward pass was snapped up by former Hull favourite Tom Briscoe who then raced 90 meters to go under the posts after 72 minutes, the conversion from Sinfield again took Leeds eight points clear and time seemed to be running out for the black and white’s.

A short kick-off from Hull gave them possession but another mistake led to another penalty for the Rhinos to march to the other end again but this time Hull were able to keep them out.

The Rhinos then wrapped up the points with three minutes left as Sinfield made a dart down the left and his pass inside put Burrow over for his 2nd of the game, the conversion from the Leeds skipper stretched the lead to a harsh 14 points which rubbed salt into already gaping wounds for Hull.

Radford bemoaned a lack of a cutting edge when they needed it, he said: “If you likened that to a boxing event we jabbed their head off but when they got their opportunities they landed a great big haymaker straight on our chin.

“That performance showed why Leeds are where they are.

“They’ve got blokes that take their opportunities. We made plenty of line-breaks but we got mopped-up.”

Echoing his counterparts words Leeds coach Brian McDermott thought a 14 point winning margin for his side was a harsh reflection on Hull, he said: “We got three breakaway tries, we call them opportunist, but I don’t feel we broke Hull down, I don’t feel we were better than them.”

Penalties: Hull FC 3 Leeds Rhinos 3

Goal Line Drop Outs: Hull FC 1 Leeds Rhinos 1

Man of the Match: Jamie Shaul

Press Box Hull v Leeds

Attendance 10,469

Hull FC 12 Wigan Warriors 48, Airlie Birds Taught Harsh Lesson In Last Game Before Super 8s

Hull FC ended their regular season campaign in extremely disappointing fashion before the start of the Super 8s.

After the euphoria of the derby win over Hull KR the previous week which confirmed their place in the First Utility Super League’s coveted top 8 the Airlie Birds went into their game with 3rd place Wigan Warriors in good heart and, allied with wins against Wakefield Trinity Wildcats and Castleford Tigers, in good form.

Coach Lee Radford installed teenage sensation Jordan Abdull and club stalwart Richard Whiting in the starting line-up in place of seriously injured Leon Pryce and captain Gareth Ellis.

The first chance of the game went the way of the visitor’s as Joe Burgess made a burst for the line but Hull’s scrambling defence held them at bay until a forward pass gave the Airlie Birds a relieving scrum.

Burgess then made a break from deep and wrong footed Jordan Rankin and the leading try scorer in Super League went over behind the posts in the 6th minute to give the Warriors the lead, the goal from England international Matty Smith made it a six point lead.

Hull were given an opportunity soon after when a forward pass by Wigan was spotted by referee Ben Thaler just inside their own half but the resulting attack was quelled by organised defence from the Warriors.

Wigan were then gifted another similar opportunity as Marc Sneyd knocked on in his own half but a rather unstructured attack from them was easily repelled by Hull until a kick went into touch in front of the try line to give Hull the scrum.

Another scrambled Wigan attack then led to a kick out to the right wing by Smith which was batted back inside by Josh Charnley for John Bateman to touchdown with the try being confirmed by video referee Richard Silverwood, the conversion from Smith made it a 12 point advantage in the 16th minute.

Back-to-back penalties then gave Hull a sustained period of pressure on the Wigan line and Abdull eventually put Whiting through a huge gap with a delicious pass after 20 minutes to register Hull’s first points, the conversion from Sneyd brought the hosts back to within six points.

The visitor’s were then awarded a controversial try  in the 24th minute as Sam Powell followed up a kick and scampered over to touchdown behind the posts, Smith’s conversion made it 6-18 in the 25th minute, the try was awarded by the video referee despite Powell appearing to be offside when the ball was kicked through but they deemed that he was back onside when centre Anthony Gelling made a second kick, to a chorus of booing from the home supporter’s.

A frantic attack from the black and white’s seemed to unsettle the Warriors and a grubber kick had to be kicked dead causing a goal line drop out which was soon backed up by a penalty giving Hull more territory and possession and a fast move from right to left saw Jack Logan cross the whitewash only to be pulled back for a forward pass.

A terrible mistake in the middle of the park as a pass went to ground gifted Wigan half-back George Williams a clean break and he needed no 2nd invitation to race clear and score under the posts with three minutes of the half remaining, the conversion from Smith took them an ominous 18 points clear going into half time.

Hull needed a fast start to the second half and they almost made a dream start as a fast move released Tom Lineham but the winger was held down just short then as the ball was moved in-field an attempted interception provided a knock-on to give Hull a scrum 20 meters out, and a grubber kick over the Wigan line was touched down by a defender to force a second goal line drop out.

The resulting attack was wasted however as Hull then were adjudged to have knocked on to give the Lancashire outfit a pressure relieving scrum, Wigan then marched to the other end and a penalty to the visitor’s allowed for more concerted pressure on the Hull line and eventually Matty Bowen crossed in the 47th minute, the conversion by Smith wrapped up the points for the Warriors with a 6-30 lead.

Despite their obvious dominance the Warriors seemed to be also in something of a profligate mood and gave Hull another chance as a pass went into touch giving Hull head and feed at a scrum in their half but another chance was wasted as Logan was denied again by a forward pass from Sneyd.

Another attack was also controversially stopped for the home side for a knock on which appeared to come from Bowen knocking the ball onto Danny Houghton’s arm before Lineham went under the posts.

Wigan captain Sean O’ Loughlin then compounded Hull’s misery further with their sixth try of the evening in the 58th minute, the conversion by Smith made it 6-36.

As much as they were being beaten in every department there was still plenty of effort from the home side but a lack of precision and completion were just hurting them every bit as much as the Warriors attack, a point which was shown glaringly as Steve Michaels was denied a try after putting a foot in touch before diving over in the corner.

Hull eventually got their try courtesy of the video referee as Joe Westerman bashed his way over the line in the 67th minute, the conversion from Sneyd made it 12-30.

Refree Thaler then enraged the home fans after controversially stopping Jordan Rankin from a certain break-away try after a deft chip in midfield and pulling him back for offside for which the Warriors were handed an equally controversial penalty.

After a goal line drop out from that penalty another Wigan attack ensued and Bowen scrambled over for his second try with nine minutes left on the clock and the conversion from Smith made it 12-42.

Wigan made it eight tries too easily as a deft pass then put Dominic Crosby over with two minutes left, the conversion from Smith stretched the lead to the final score of 12-48.

Hull v Wigan

Hull KR 12 Hull FC 22, Airlie Birds Book Super 8s Place With Priceless Derby Win.

Hull FC secured the bragging rights and their place in the coveted Super League Super 8s with a gritty determined win as they became only the third visiting team to win at the KC Lightstream Stadium against bitter rivals Hull KR despite losing two of their most influential players in the first half.

Coach Lee Radford brought back captain Gareth Ellis and Mark Minichiello in the back row for the winner take all derby.

Meanwhile Rovers coach Chris Chester kept half back Albert Kelly in his starting line-up after he passed a late fitness test after picking up an injury in the defeat at Salford Red Devils.

The first mistake came from Rovers winger Josh Mantellato as he sent the kick off out on the full giving the black and white’s possession and territory but eventually a small grubber kick through by Marc Sneyd was gathered by Rovers full-back Kieron Dixon.

Hull’s next attack caused a few hearts in mouths after a kick by Jordan Rankin was not quite pulled in by Fetuli Talanoa over the Rovers line and the video referees ruled out the potential try because of the knock on.

Controversy then ensued as Talanoa was harshly adjudged to have knocked on at halfway giving the robins a scrum but organised defence from the visitor’s kept Rovers attack at bay to force a changeover just in front of the Airlie Birds line.

The first score came about as Rovers were given a soft penalty for offside and eventually Shaun Lunt scrambled over in the 9th minute, the conversion from Mantellato made it a 6 point lead for the home side.

Hull then forced back-to-back penalties but were unable to breach a well drilled Rovers defence and Dixon, for a second time, was able to get back into the field of play after catching a grubber behind his own line.

However Hull’s next attack proved more fruitful as a kick from Sneyd was just kept under control by Steve Michaels for the Aussie winger to bring his side back into the game, Sneyd however was unable to add the touchline conversion leaving the home side leading 6-4 in the 17th minute.

Rovers next opportunity arose when Michaels was adjudged to have knocked the ball out of play behind his own line despite Ken Sio appearing to have touched the ball first, forcing a goal line drop out but the attack seemed slightly unstructured and eventually Maurice Blair was taken down just in front of the visitor’s line to force a handover.

Rovers were soon in again though as Kris Welham chased Kelly’s towering kick and then flicked a pass out to Mantellato for the Italian international to cross the whitewash, his conversion to his own try made it 12-4 in the 27th minute.

After another Rovers attack which ended with a nothing kick over the dead ball line by Kelly the Airlie Birds then marched dangerously to the other end and a fast cross-field passing move finished with Tom Lineham finishing in the right corner, the conversion by Sneyd brought Hull back within two points of Rovers again as the half hour approached.

The next chance for Hull came as Rovers lost the ball in their own half and after a scrambled, untidy move to the right Lineham somehow got over in the right corner despite the attentions of three defenders to give them the lead going into the break, the conversion from Sneyd made it 12-16.

A note of caution for the black and white’s was that Leon Pryce and Ellis had both been taken off in the first half due to injuries which had left them short on options on the bench for the second half.

The visitor’s started the half with more purpose than their hosts and caused panic early as Talanoa hunted a try from a grubber before Mantellato managed to rescue the situation.

The next attack caused a goal line drop out but Mantellato fortuitously found touch with the drop out to give the home side a scrum near the halfway line.

Rovers then upped the pace with several eye-catching moves causing Hull’s defence to go into scramble mode especially when teenage centre Jack Logan had to get back to catch a kick through by Kelly with Liam Salter and Ken Sio closing in on the chance.

Hull then went to the other end and a high bomb by Jordan Abdull was taken by Sio but then lost in the challenge with Michaels who then pounced on the loose ball to tap the ball down to stretch Hull’s advantage and the conversion from Sneyd made it 12-22 after 54 minutes.

Rovers were then presented with a chance after a high tackle by Liam Watts on Dixon gave them a penalty and Tony Puletua was held up over the line.

Another opportunity came the way of the Robins after a kick through was kicked dead by Jordan Rankin causing the black and white’s to have to drop out from under their own posts for a second time but again the opportunity was bombed by the home side as teenager Logan made a fortuitous interception.

A break by Lineham then caused panic in the Rovers defence and when Sneyd followed up his own grubber over the line Sio had to knock the ball dead to prevent the half back from scoring.

Jack Logan was disallowed a seemingly good try for a knock-on in the 70th minute by the the video referee.

Rovers continued to try and take the game to their rivals as the clock ran down but Hull’s defence kept scrambling and answering the questions they were being asked and they forced a chance with less than five minutes to go but Kelly’s pass to Puletua was just slightly forward causing referee Richard Silverwood to bring the prop back from under the posts.

A professional performance for the remaining time, as it had been for the majority of the game, saw the clock down and jubilant scenes for the black and white’s fans as they contemplated the Super 8s whilst their near neighbour’s stare down the barrel of a scrap for their Super League lives in the Middle 8s.

Penalties- Rovers 5 Hull 4

Goal Line Drop Outs- Rovers 2 Hull 2

Man of the Match- Mark Minichiello

Hull FC 21 Castleford Tigers 18, Airlie Birds Keep Destiny In Their Own Hands With Breathless Victory Over Tigers

A very young Hull FC took a big step towards qualifying for the much coveted Super League top 8 with a stirring comeback win against Castleford Tigers at the KC Stadium.

Teenager Brad Fash was drafted into Hull FC coach Lee Radford’s match day squad in place of captain Gareth Ellis for this Super League clash with the in-form Tigers who arrived on the back of a five match winning run.

Chris Green also returned in place of the suspended Mickey Paea and Richard Whiting came into the starting line-up having come off the bench in the victory over Wakefield Trinity Wildcats the previous week.

The first opportunity was presented to the visitors as a deep kick from Marc Sneyd went into touch on the full giving the Tigers a scrum 30 meters from the home sides line but an organised defence from the black and white’s easily repelled the resulting attack.

A soft penalty then presented the Tigers another opportunity and eventually a fast move from left to right saw Denny Solomona finish spectacularly in the corner in the 6th minute, Liam Finn was unable to add the touchline conversion to leave the score at 0-4.

Another Castleford attack started as Solomona made a break in midfield but he was dragged down just short of the line by a desperate Hull defence and the overlap on the left wing was wasted with a nothing kick that Justin Carney was unable to gather in front of the line.

The Airlie Birds then marched menacingly to the other end with a significant break from Steve Michaels and eventually Leon Pryce sent Richard Whiting over with a deft little pass in the 11th minute, Sneyd then gave Hull the advantage with a successful conversion to make it 6-4.

Suddenly Hull were taking the game to their opponents and throwing the ball around with confidence and thought they were in for another try but the final pass to Joe Westerman was deemed forward by referee Joe Cobb less than 20 meters from the Tigers line.

Castleford were gifted another opportunity when Jordan Rankin spilled a high bomb giving them a 10 meter scrum and they took full advantage as Luke Dorn pounced to score from close range to give the visitor’s the lead in the 18th minute, this Finn obliged with the extra points to give them a four point lead again.

Another opportunity was squandered by the Tigers after a penalty for a ball-steal gave them territory but as they attacked down the left a forward pass put paid to the chance.

Both teams seemed intent on knocking lumps out of each other and a series of bone crunching tackles were clearly having an effect but still no quarter was being asked or given at either end.

Castleford pressed the Hull line again and once again Solomona  got in at the corner as Hull’s defence just simply ran out of men after a fast move from the middle to the right, once again Finn was unable to add the extras but the Tigers were looking good value with an eight point lead.

Hull then attacked just before half time and Tom Lineham seemed to have a perfectly legitimate try but referee Cobb controversially disallowed it after consulting with his touch judge to leave the Airlie Birds with a two score deficit going into the half time break.

Hull started much the livelier in the 2nd half and were unlucky in the 42nd minute when a pass intended for Lineham just evaded the winger and went into touch.

However the home side soon put that disappointment behind them three min utes later as Jordan Abdull crashed over despite the attentions of three Tigers defenders to get Hull back in the game, the conversion from Sneyd brought Hull back within two points.

Hull were looking more aggressive and willing to chance their arm and another attack soon after saw Danny Houghton held up over the line by desperate Tigers defence.

Lineham got the try he deserved in the 59th minute as a cross-field move as fast as a Ferrari formula 1 car allowed the flying winger to provide a spectacular finish in the corner to give Hull a two point advantage, Sneyd was unable to add the extras from the touchline to leave the score at 16-14.

A mistake in defence by the Tigers when trying to stop a Pryce offload in front of the line gave the Airlie Birds a 10 meter scrum but a knock on wasted the chance after a push at the scrum.

The table then turned as Finn put a high bomb up and Michaels knocked the ball into touch 10 meters from his own line under intense pressure from Solomona.

However the Tigers were unable to take advantage as Hull’s superb scrambling defence held them at bay until a kick over the top was caught on the full by Lineham behind the Hull line.

Hull then split the Tigers defence again in broken field as Rankin scampered through after shrugging off two defenders and, as he slipped in front of the line, had the presence of mind to look outside and see Lineham waiting to scoop up his pass and crash over in the 69th minute, Sneyd was off-target again with the conversion to leave Hull with a six point lead.

Sneyd then came back to haunt his old team with a drop goal in the 71st minute to leave the Tigers needing two scores.

Castleford suddenly found their vigour again and started pushing the home defence with a desperate looking attack but their captain Michael Shenton wasted another chance with a knock on 10 meters from the line under intense pressure.

Hull’s halves Sneyd and Pryce and captain for the day Houghton were causing the Tigers all sorts of problems especially in broken field and the kicking game of Sneyd and Houghton was  constantly turning them round and sending them scuttling back.

However a controversial penalty for Castleford after Solomona had been bundled into touch by the Hull defence led to a chance attack and half back Ben Roberts reached out to score in the 76th minute, the kick was missed by Finn to leave Hull leading by three points.

Try as they might the Tigers couldn’t break down a resilient Hull defence again and after a frantic closing few minutes a soft penalty for Hull finished the game for a much deserved win for the black and white’s and send them into next weekends crunch derby match against Hull KR at the KC Lightstream Stadium with back-to-back wins.

Radford confirmed afterwards that Hull have an appeal hearing on Tuesday about Mickey Paea’s ban which effectively rules him out of the game against his former employers as things stand.

He also said that influential back row Mark Minichiello and captain Gareth Ellis look likely to play against their cross city rivals as they both look to overcome niggling injuries.

Penalties: Hull 5 Tigers 6

Man of the Match: Richard Whiting

Attendance: 10,949