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.

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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.