Better, but still not good enough. That’s six defeats on the bounce now for Hull FC, who could do little to prevent a second half Huddersfield rampage in a 26-6 loss.
A bizarre half time score of 0-0 saw Hull front up more than in previous weeks. In attack the side still bordered on hopeless but defensively they were encouraging signs, well for forty minutes at least. The forward pack was much more solid. People like Mickey Paea, who’s been criticised through this outlet throughout this season, was actually good. In all honesty though Paea has been much improved over the past three games now. He drove the ball in with a purpose and showed some mongrel in defence. It’s that grunt which we’ve been lacking so fair play to him for taking the first step to ensuring UTC’s custard pie consumption hits its peak next season.
However don’t get the wrong end of the stick here, it’s not like Paea has turned into a Burgess brother or the forward supremacy pace setters in this competition, but he’s got better, showing some bastard, which is the biggest compliment you can give to a prop forward. Of course we saw that superlative in Scott Taylor again, who rattled a few cages, in particular the one of Danny Brough, who upon realising who the culprit was, backed off quicker than Nigel Wood polishes off a KFC bucket. Windy. Elsewhere for Hull FC Sika Manu was much improved on recent outings and the workload from the likes of Carlos Tuimavave was commendable, but in truth to lavish praise on a side suffering a twenty-point defeat is a bit perplexing, so we’ll leave that there.
With so much ball going in Hull FC’s possession, to only post six points on the board tells you the story. With Marc Sneyd presumably on a beach in Marbella, young Liam Harris tried. There’s a player there and one we can nurture into a Super League talent. He had a good range of kicking and tried to get us moving, but there was little to feed off. Danny Houghton struggled to ignite anything from the ruck and at 29-years of age Hull must start thinking about spelling him with Jez Litten. Jordan Abdull though, on what we make was his 50th Hull appearance, was anonymous again before going off injured. He didn’t create or didn’t have any impact, with Chris Green and Mark Minichiello suffering potentially season ending knocks. Standard approach then to Hull FC’s season. Along with another knock for Dean Hadley it pretty much sums it up. Players are playing busted. Games are meaningless. It’s probably why we’re currently showing as much desire as Gary Hetherington in a smiling contest. It’s tough. There’s no getting away from that injury fact, even those that have come back are well off the pace and it’s understandable.
With no competitive fixtures left, it’s easy to see where the problem lies. Hull are in a rut and there’s no getting out of it. They need the season to end now, then the playing staff can try shed some light on the injury situation, their recovery plans, methods etc, and assess what’s gone wrong. Because something has gone wrong. Surely you can’t blame all these knocks on bad luck. The count is ridiculous and has derailed our season to an extent, as we won’t forget performances weren’t good enough before our injury crisis anyway, but again it links back to one problem. Lack of personnel, or at least fit personnel. But let’s be realistic. Would Hull FC win Super League if our squad was at full tilt anyway?
Well they’d have given it a bloody good go, and would probably occupy a third or fourth spot in the table, but the opinion maintains that you can’t lose the likes of Liam Watts, Frank Pritchard and Gareth Ellis and not replace them. That’s a hefty chunk of size and power and instead we’ve expected miracles off our young players. Getting rid of Watts has proved to be stupid in footballing terms, but allegedly Liam wasn’t winning any popularity contests at the club and it was a player led decision. A real shame. Our opinions on Liam haven’t changed. Still class. Like mentioned above, Paea has improved recently but he has been a liability at times this season. Green is hot and cold. We lost Josh Bowden to injury. We’re a prop short, and even with Joe Westerman in the loose role, that doesn’t change.
Next season worries me. It really does. But going back to the Huddersfield debacle ultimately fatigue stifled us. With the ball we didn’t do enough and without it we eventually cracked. We sucker punched ourselves in losing the ball to a ridiculous offload five metres from our own line and the next time we saw it again Huddersfield were 14-0 up. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Bureta Faraimo showed what he’s about with our only points of the night, powering past several players to score, but apart from that Hull didn’t look like scoring. Worrying times indeed, but more concerning there’s still five games of the season left and plenty more opportunities to implode. That’s what Hull did here. They were in the game but had their belly scratched and caved in. Two further Huddersfield tries followed with relative ease.
That was disappointing – how Huddersfield just all of sudden began to post points. Where’s the fight and resilience we saw from Hull FC during the two Cup wins? In previous seasons we’ve been more thick-skinned than this, but in reality we’ve just given up. That’s why our application is way off. The succumbing to injuries has been so disappointing. We haven’t rolled our sleeves up. We’ve just sulked. To some extent we get it. The volume of injuries we’ve had are a ballache for sure, but Hull FC are supposed to made of sterner stuff than this.
The last two months have been so poor with the only consolation we can take is that our Super League status is secured. But by that logic though we might as well have packed the fixtures in three weeks ago. We need September to end quickly. Throw this season under a bus and start again with a blank sheet of paper, and preferably a cheque book too.
Huddersfield Starting XIII: 15. Jordan Rankin, 2. Jermaine McGilvary, 3. Leroy Cudjoe, 4. Jordan Turner, 23. Darnell McIntosh, 6. Lee Gaskell, 7. Danny Brough, 35. Suaia Matagi, 21. Adam O’Brien, 17. Ukuma Ta’ai, 22. Alex Mellor, 16. Oliver Roberts, 13. Ryan Hinchcliffe. Interchange: 14. Dale Ferguson, 18. Paul Clough, 9. Kruise Leeming, 25. Colton Roche.
Huddersfield Tries: Mellor, Gaskell, Hinchcliffe, Ta’ai. Goals: Brough 4/4, McIntosh 1/1.
Hull Starting XIII: 1. Jamie Shaul. 2. Bureta Faraimo, 4. Josh Griffin, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 5. Fetuli Talanoa, 16. Jordan Abdull, 35. Liam Harris, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 23. Mickey Paea, 21. Sika Manu, 12. Mark Minichiello, 11. Dean Hadley. Interchange: 15. Chris Green, 17. Danny Washbrook, 26. Jordan Lane, 36. Lewis Bienek.
Hull Tries: Faraimo. Goals: Faraimo 1/1.
Hull 3-2-1 Man of the Match: 3pts
Scoring System: 6-0, 12-0, 14-0, 14-6, 20-6, 26-6
Attendance: Four thousand and something
Referee: Robert Hicks
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