That was bad. Well in all honesty it was complete utter shite as Hull FC dished up one of those all too familiar, frequent, and rancid home displays, losing 12-22 to Huddersfield on Friday night.
Bottle jobs. It was a second consecutive home game where there was an opportunity to go outright second in Super League, which given reflection on some of the dross served up this year tells you a lot about the standard of the competition. Madness that Hull could have even been in that position, but the realisation now that a play-off place might not even come to fruition is a more realistic outlook on Hull in 2019. Consistently inconsistent, and when bad, the side goes to the outright horrendous.
In many respects the past month or so has had a feel of Lee Radford’s early years as head coach. Back in 2014/2015 there was obviously some hostility between the coaching staff and those players who were surplus to requirements, or those staying put but chummy with those who weren’t, and it now seems that same hostility is back. It’s a similar sort of scenario. The changing of the guard clearly hasn’t gone down well in some cases and that’s effecting the side. It’s been apparent that it’s not the most mentally tough band of players either and that’s shining through now. Jumping to conclusions? Well somethings changed. Hull are so flat. The side is weak. It looks tired, mentally done, and ready for the end of the season. So much for a push to Old Trafford then, the closest of which Hull will get is either to the Trafford Centre or a venture to the fourth Ashes test next week. Boy it’s the hope that kills you. Or maybe a combination of that and blind optimism. But then again this team has been sublime on occasion, which makes results like this even more perplexing.
No beating around the bush, the display against Huddersfield was piss poor. With the season on the line too. Another dreadful home performance. Another defeat to a relegation contender – TEN points of which have been dropped to the teams at the foot of the league. You can then compound that with a return of EIGHT loses from THIRTEEN Super League home games this year, with just FIVE wins. That’s criminal, and even if you add the two extra in the Cup, league wise it’s the second worst record in the competition.
That home form has seen Hull’s ‘home’ ground decay. It’s like a morgue. Dead. Soulless. You can feel the apprehension. It’s the norm now. There’s no expectation. Crowds are getting more and more frustrated. Hull are abusing trust and once that’s gone it’s hard to get back. Two outright chances to go second, to give themselves a gear up with the second easiest route to OT, but two chances that Hull have bottled with it all right there for the taking.
What we’re witnessing right now is not acceptable. Hull are going through the motions, and with certain personal missing the holes are showing up. It’s not like there’s no quality in that side either. Far from it, which makes it all the more confusing. Again it boils down to attitude. They turn up when they like, which is a right kick in the knackers to those who back the club every week from Wakefield to Wollongong. It’s not good enough.
Once again it was a catalogue of missed opportunities. Huddersfield weren’t even that great and in truth any decent side would have racked up a hefty points total, a bit like a certain Magic Weekend result. Irony alert. Hull where defensively exposed and in attack the side were flat. Nothing clicked. The half backs weren’t on par with the forwards nor the outside backs, the blame of which can lay equally. It’s easy to scapegoat the half back, especially a Hull FC half back, and whilst both made errors, they weren’t the sole reason for defeat. Jake Connor has been that scapegoat recently, probably fuelled by the rumours that Lee Radford squished so eloquently on Thursday afternoon. Connor made errors and opted for the wrong option, but little came off for anyone. Hull had spells of favourable territory, but didn’t have the power to complement it. It was all wayward and to be honest pretty painful to watch.
There’s a growing realisition now that Sneyd and Connor together just doesn’t work. They are too similar and don’t offer the running threat of a certain maverick Australian. Without that you become more predictable, and whilst defensively there have been major issues with both ability and attitude at times this year, it’s the poor passive attack that was so noticable against Huddersfield. Kelly mixes that threat up. He offers a bit of everything. Ask yourself when’s the last time Hull played well without him? Exactly. Team game of course, but take the pinncale out of pretty much every side and you have a problem.
Positives? Ummm. Well Hull’s best player on the night was Jamie Shaul. He showed some real maturity out there with little help. He always has a dig, you can never fault him there, it’s his hometown club and he gets it more than most. Effort is unquestionable from him, even when the result is shite he grafts. Here application was on point too. Shaul set up a try with a superb pass and forced a repeat set with his boot. Defensively he was good too. Elsewhere Jack Logan had a couple of moments, the best being a kick to set up a try for Shaul. In the forwards Brad Fash was good, Sika Manu both solid and busy, and Tevita Satae promising. Both brought some punch, but the latter spent too long on the bench between his stints, actually coming on for a second time during the last seven minutes when Hull were ten points down. What’s all that about? Why wait until Huddersfield have the ascendency and Hull are getting desperate? Weird.
All in all Hull got what they deserved, nothing. For Huddersfield it’s a massive two points in their quest for survival, and for the want of any silver lining, the result makes things that extra bit twitchy for our noisy neighbours. Maybe that’s it all along. Lose to the teams around them, relegate them and then finish fifth, with the knowledge such a play-off game would be away from home. Sounds bliss doesn’t it, but sadly nothing more than a massive straw to clutch on. It’s Castleford up next, and right now it’s hard to see the win coming. If Hull are to prolong 2019, the side need Albert Kelly back playing ASAP. Without him, the Airlie Birds are just setting up for yet another glorious failure.
Hull Starting XIII: 1. Jamie Shaul, 24. Jack Logan, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 38. Kieran Buchanan, 2. Bureta Faraimo, 14. Jake Connor, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 23. Mickey Paea, 21. Sika Manu, 22. Jordan Lane, 13. Joe Westerman. Interchange: 10. Josh Bowden, 39. Tevita Satae, 34. Gareth Ellis, 20. Brad Fash.
Hull Tries: Shaul, Faraimo. Goals: Sneyd 2/2
Hull 3-2-1 Man of the Match: 3pts Jamie Shaul, 2pts Sika Manu, 1pt Tevita Satae
Huddersfield Starting XIII: 1. Darnell McIntosh, 2. Jermaine McGillvary, 11. Aaron Murphy, 20. Jake Wardle, 30. Louis Senior, 6. Lee Gaskell, 7. Matt Frawley, 10. Suaia Matagi, 14. Adam O’Brien, 8. Paul Clough, 12. Alex Mellor, 17. Ukuuma Ta’ai, 13. Michael Lawrence. Interchange: 9. Kruise Leeming, 29. Sam Hewitt, 30. Jon Luke Kirby, 36. Oliver Wilson.
Huddersfield Tries: McGillvary, Murphy, Senior, Frawley. Goals: Gaskell 3/4
Scoring System: 6-0, 6-4, 6-10, 12-10, 12-16, 12-22
Referee: Liam Moore