Hull FC’s Super League campaign ended in semi-final heartache once again. Here are Five Things we learned.
1.. There’s only one Gareth Ellis
Hull FC rattled the competition when they announced the signing of Gareth Ellis back in 2012. It was a statement of intent and the side have never looked back since as their Wembley heroics show.
Gareth’s impact has been massive and he’ll go down as one of the most important signings in the clubs history. He backed up all of his superlatives in what was his final game as a professional rugby league player and it just doesn’t seem right. We respect his decision, but this man is good enough to go round again. He proved that for me with a superb display, carrying the ball as good as anyone.
Doesn’t it just say it all, that when fatigue has well and truely set in, and in a foot race against someone half his age and supposedly twice as quick, that Gareth gets back to make the tackle. That if anything just sums up the will and determination of the bloke, qualities that have earned his reputation as a hero on both sides of the globe. Hull FC’s captain, leader and legend.
2.. Slow start costly
Credit where credit is due as Leeds were the better side and deserve to go to Old Trafford, but you have to question Hull’s start to the game. They were caught cold and by the time they got going they were 12-0 down. You can’t afford to do that in play-off contests and it’s not like it’s the first time it’s happened either.
Twleve months ago the same thing happened at Wigan, and to some extent both Challenge Cup finals at Wembley too. Unfortunately it’s a trait we see too regularly. Hull need to learn to hit the ground running and not play catch up. They showed some admirable qualities to get back into the game, but in reality that’s two Super League semi-finals now that they could and arguably should have won.
3.. Never say die attitude almost pays off
We talk about Hull being slow out the blocks, but blimey when they got going they were good. They gave themselves a lot to do and showed a lot of resilience to take the lead. The Black and Whites stood up in defence and worked their way into a contest that at one stage looked like it would be a blowout.
That’s Radford’s side to a norm though. They never give up and always find that purple patch where everything just clicks. In that peroid points followed and for their fair share Hull were the better team. They rattled Leeds in the second half. It’s just a shame the damage was already done.
4.. Jake Connor is a star in the making
You can see now why Radders, Motu and AP fought tooth and neck with Huddersfield to ensure Jake Connor became a Hull FC player in 2017. The guy is just absolute class and has shown his worth all season.
Skill wise he’s arguably the most talented player at the club. That’s a big statement but the impossible plays he comes up with time and time back it up. He put two tries on a player for Mahe Fonua and Sika Manu at Headingley and had one himself disallowed by the video referee during Hull’s comeback.
Connor has had a brilliant first season here, and if he keeps developing at this rate, the world is his oyster. To be honest, that’s what worries me.
5.. Competing at the top
For the second year running Hull FC got themselves into a position where they were a matter of minutes away from a spot at Old Trafford. Ultimately they came undone by a good side, that happens, but they’ve shown they’re not a flash in the pan and can compete at the right end of the table year on year.
Hull stuck within touching distance of the top four all season, and turned up in the cup games to win at Wembley. They almost pulled it out of the bag when it mattered most in the play-offs, but ultimately came up short. In knockout rugby that can happen. It’s the best thing about Super League. It mentally tests you and separates the best from the rest. Hopefully Hull will learn from this and be back for another crack next season.