Hull FC Recruitment For 2016 Part 1, Scott Taylor

Hull FC ended a long and protracted chase for Hull-Born Scott Taylor when they announced he had signed a four year deal on 19th May.

The Prop Forward who grew up supporting the black and white’s actually started his career with bitter cross-city rivals Hull KR then switched Craven Park (now the KC Lightstream Stadium) for the DW Stadium as he signed for Wigan Warriors for a substantial fee at the start of the 2013 season.

Taylor was in the Warriors team that beat the Airlie Birds at Wembley in the Challenge Cup Final that year and also picked up a Super League Grand Final winner’s ring as Wigan completed the double in 2013.

Taylor missed the Warriors 2014 Grand Final defeat to St. Helens and was sent out on a long term loan to Salford Red Devils this year rather than seeing out the final year of his contract at Wigan.

Now the former Hull KR prop is on his way home to Hull to play for the club he has supported all his life.

When the deal was announced Taylor said: “I had a few options put in-front of me but there was only really one choice when I knew Hull wanted to sign me.”

The 24-year-old will be a natural replacement for Tongan prop Mickey Paea who is returning to the NRL having signed for Newcastle Knights at the end of this season.

Scott Taylor

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Hull KR 32 Catalans Dragons 26, Rovers Move Within 80 Minutes of Wembley With Tense Victory Over Channel Hoppers

Hull KR put their supporters through agony before booking a first Challenge Cup semi-final since 2006 with a nervous victory over Catalans Dragons after a dominant first half gave way to a substantially less disciplined performance in the second half.

Coach Chris Chester brought hooker Shaun Lunt and prop Dane Tilse back on the bench but the line-up remained largely the same as the 17 who had thumped Warrington Wolves in Super League last week for this Challenge Cup Quarter-Final at the KC Lightstream Stadium.

Catalans got the game underway on a balmy summer evening which might have suited the men from the south of France but the early exchanges saw the home side settling into their stride quicker with a kick from Kelly causing panic behind the Dragons line before the ball was knocked out to force a goal line drop out.

There was early controversy as the Robins were awarded a scrum after Kris Welham had clearly knocked the ball into touch in a tackle on Krisnan Inu, they then took advantage with a fast cross-field move which released Ken Sio down the right to score the first try of the game after seven minutes, the conversion from Josh Mantellato made it 6-0.

Catalans got their first chance at some sustained pressure on the home sides line a few minutes later after a ball was batted down by a Rovers defender to give them a repeat set which then led to Welham attempting an intercept but he was unable to drag the ball in causing more pressure.

Inu then came perilously close to a try but Welham then knocked the ball out of his hands deliberately but referee Phil Bentham gave the home side head and feed wrongly at the scrum.

The red and white’s then moved swiftly down-field and after a dropped ball by the visitors ended up in the hands of Kelly and eventually Kieran Dixon got over the line to stretch the lead after 17 minutes, the conversion from Mantellato made it 12-0.

The next attack from the Robins two minutes later came via a Maurice Blair kick, Mantellato got to the ball before Dragons full-back Morgan Escare and handed the ball on to Kelly to score, another goal from Mantellato made it 18-0.

Catalans then got another scrum inside their oppositions half but facing an organised defence they never really looked like cutting through to get back in the game as the game moved into its second quarter despite forcing a goal line drop out when Dixon was caught behind the line.

A break by Mantellato down the left wing and inside pass which cut-out two Catalans defenders and two Rovers attackers found its way to Graeme Horne for the back rower to go in behind the posts in the 29th minute, the inevitable conversion by Mantellato made it 24-0 and left the men from France facing a gap as wide as the Humber to try and recover.

To their credit the Dragons wouldn’t throw the towel in and a break in mid-field by Louis Anderson saw them set up the platform to build from and a delicious little kick from Elliott Whitehead was dotted down by Inu for their first try after 35 minutes, Scott Dureau was unable to add the extras which left them trailing by 20 points.

Rovers were then awarded another penalty in the last minute of the first half after a high shot on Horne and Mantellato duly obliged from 35 meters out to send his side in at the break 26-4 ahead.

The second half started with a bit of handbags at dawn between Inu and Lunt but from that the visitors then made the first attacking opportunity before Inu was denied by Welham after a high bomb.

An attack at the other end by Rovers was similarly unfortunate as Liam Salter caught a hick kick but was held down just short of the line.

Catalans were appearing more purposeful as the game wore on and Zeb Taia took advantage of a quick tap penalty for off-side to crash over in the 50th minute, a first conversion of the evening for Dureau reduced the gap to 16 points and give them some form of hope.

The next visit to the home sides line saw an audacious kick through by Tony Gigot and Inu followed it up to score in the corner in the 55th minute, Dureau missed the conversion but at 26-14 the Dragons seemed to be sensing a comeback which at half-time had looked like an impossibility against the in-form Robins.

The 50-50 calls that had gone the way of the men from East Yorkshire in the first half now seemed to be going more in favour of the Frenchmen.

Ken Sio finally added to his try tally as Rovers took the bull by the horns and a fast passing move saw him dive in at the corner in the 65th minute, the missed conversion left the score at 30-14.

However Catalans still wouldn’t go away and they charged straight to the other end and video referees Steve Ganson and Joe Cobb awarded a try to Ian Henderson in the 67th minute, the goal by Dureau reduced the deficit to 10 points again and a nervous tension descended on the ground again.

A measure of the concern for the home side became apparent with 10 minutes left when, after a crusher tackle on Dixon 10 meters from the Catalans line, Mantellato opted to take the two points on offer to give them a two converted try lead.

Catalans immediately went for a short kick-off and won the ball within Rovers territory which led to sustained pressure. Back-to-back penalties increased the pressure but Rovers stuck manfully to the task in hand to keep them at bay and a knock-on relieved the pressure and enabled them to clear their lines.

Another Catalans attack then produced another try as a kick through by Jason Baitieri was pounced on by Elliott Whitehead in the 78th minute and the conversion by Dureau put them back within one score of the hosts.

Rovers however saw the game out to move on to their first Challenge Cup semi-final since 2006 and within sight of a first trip to Wembley in nearly three decades.

Penalties- Hull KR 6 Catalans Dragons 9

Goal Line Drop Outs- Hull KR 1 Catalans Dragons 2

Attendance: 6,073

Hull FC 40 Castleford Tigers 14. Airlie Birds safely into Last 8 of the Challenge Cup with emphatic victory over Tigers.

Hull FC moved a step closer to Wembley with an emphatic win against last season’s beaten finalists Castleford in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup 6th Round.

Now just two games away from a return to the national stadium a buzz seems to be developing among the fans as Hull made it 6 wins from their last 7 games with another exhibition of attacking rugby league which has been threatened many times, but not quite delivered in previous months.

Once again the talk in the build up was of the opposition having injuries but, again, the Airlie Birds were also below strength as the game was considered a week too early for Joe Westerman to come back from a Hernia operation and top try scorer Tom Lineham was also sidelined so Curtis Naughton took his place on the wing.

One player Hull did have back, after a two match suspension, was prop Mickey Paea so Jordan Thompson dropped down to the bench after starting the game at Warrington Wolves last week and captain Gareth Ellis switched from prop to loose forward.

The home side were the first to strike in the fourth minute as Curtis Naughton scrambled well to collect a loose pass and battle his way over in the corner despite the attentions of two Tigers defenders, Marc Sneyd, playing against the side he went to Wembley with last year, missed the touchline conversion to leave Hull 4-0 to the good.

After a frantic start the game started to settle down as both sides traded possession and territory until Liam Watts made a break down the middle from a sublime pass by Mickey Paea, Hull surged forward and eventually an overlap on the right led to a second try for Naughton in the 14th minute, this time Marc Sneyd added the conversion to give the home side a 10 point lead.

Another attack 3 minutes later led to a third try for Hull as the returning Paea crashed through the Castleford defence from close range, Marc Sneyd again tacked on the extras to stretch the lead to 16-0.

After that try the game became more of a war of attrition with the visitors trying frantically to break the home defence down while the black and white’s kept going through their processes and squeezed their opponents down the middle.

A mistake by Steve Michaels stepping into touch as he caught a high kick gave Castleford a scrum near the home line and Oliver Holmes eventually forced his way over but was held up by Leon Pryce.

A shocking decision by referee James Child to give the tigers another scrum near the Hull line after a knock on by Jordan Tansey eventually saw Ashley Gibson get in at the corner in the 33rd minute, the missed kick by Luke Gale left the score at 16-4.

Another attack from the visitors then saw James Clare go close at the corner before being bundled into touch by a fast moving Hull defence a few minutes later.

Another Castleford attack led to to a goal line drop out from Hull but the half time hooter sounded before they could try another attack and the black and white’s went into the break with their 12 point lead intact.

The second half started with a mistake by Mickey Paea dropping the ball early giving the visitors a scrum in the Hull half and the resulting attack saw James Clare squeeze in at the corner 3 minutes into the half, this time Luke Gale added the conversion to bring the Tigers back within 6 points.

Hull attacks were becoming rare and on their next visit to the Castleford line Leon Pryce knocked on over the line.

Castleford then strolled down the other end and a high kick was lost by Hull and Mike McMeeken took advantage to stretch over after 47 minutes, Gale again missed the kick to leave a slender two point advantage for the home side.

The tigers were looking much more organised and fluid in attack than they had in the first half and some very contentious decisions were all going their way as well.

Referee James Child was certainly making himself extremely unpopular with the home fans with some genuinely bizarre decisions particularly when he penalised the home side for infringements that went unpunished for the tigers.

A long break for an injury to Jordan Thompson, which ended with the Hull man being stretchered off, seemed to take the sting out of the visitors and Hull started to assert themselves again.

A good forward charge by Richard Whiting then set up the position for Hull to attack and a fast cross-field move ended with Jordan Rankin joining the attacking line to race in at the corner in the 62nd minute, the missed touchline conversion from Sneyd left Hull with a 20-14 lead.

Just five minutes later Hull were awarded a rare penalty in front of the posts and Sneyd duly obliged to give them a two score advantage.

A few minutes after that Curtis Naughton took the ball from dummy half and completed his hat-trick with a memorable try to increase Hull’s advantage, another goal from the ever reliable Sneyd made it 28-14 with less than nine minutes remaining.

The game was over a few minutes later as Jordan Rankin grabbed a second try which was goaled by Sneyd to take the score to 34-14 with six minutes left.

In the dying embers of the game Hull were still attacking and club stalwart Kirk Yeaman crossed the whitewash, to which Sneyd added a simple conversion to bring up the 40 score with the final act after the hooter.

Attendance 6,715

Penalties 5-5

Goal Line Drop Outs 1-1

Man of the Match: Curtis Naughton