It’s so frustrating that we’re even at this point, but the stakes for Hull FC are huge at Castleford this Thursday night: win and the side cement their play-off position, lose and the side drop down to sixth place in Super League.
Boosted by the return of three players, Hull have hope going to Wheldon Road, but their inclusions won’t be believed until that team sheet comes out prior to a 19:45 kick-off. That’s the stage we’ve got to now, it’s do or die.
A world of difference
Having Albert Kelly back is massive for Hull FC. He adds so much balance to the side both with and without the ball. If the Airlie Birds are to get a much-needed victory, then the chicken nugget sensation must be firing. When fit he’s been nothing short of magnificent this season. It’s perhaps naive to place 2019’s hopes all on Kelly’s shoulders, but Hull won’t achieve bugger all without him. He makes the world of difference to this team.
The fact that Hull FC are even in this position is ridicolous. Two oppurtunities have been passed by at home to cement a top five, and top two position. That highlights the sides rancid home form this season. Hull have won just five of thirteen home fixtures in Super League. It’s pathetic. On the contrary the side have won ten on the road. Hull play their best stuff away, let’s hope that’s the case again now that it matters most.
All this talk of Jake Connor not ‘taking his chance’ in the halves is a load of nonsense. Whilst Kelly is king, Connor’s future is undoubtedly at centre and such gibberish was just adding pressure to Jake, who was filling in during Kelly’s injury. At Castleford Connor should be back at right centre, doing his thing in his best position. Carlos Tuimavave has filled the void recently, but you’d like to think he’d be moved to the left edge to accomadate Connor. If Hull are to achieve their season goals then they need their best players firing in their best positions.
This Hull FC team have been so up and down this season. When everything is going for them they can be a joy to watch, but when things are up against it they’ve been found wanting. Those balls are there though. Look at Warrington away. We need to see that again. Hull can’t just feel sorry for themselves, they’ve got to roll the sleeves up and get on with it. Attack wise last week was painful, but with Kelly alledgedly back, there can ne no excuses now. Hopefully that will bring with it some confidence and with that a pivotal two points. With the Hull FC of 2019 though, you just never know.
Hull FC have named Albert Kelly, Mark Minichiello and Ratu Naulago in the squad for Castleford away. Kelly has been missing for a month and his return is so welcome. Naulago too offers the side some speed and reinstates that right edge of Kelly, Manu, Connor and the Fijian himself. Last time Hull came to Castleford, that edge tore them apart in the seond half.
Joe Westerman, Kieran Buchanan and Jordan Lane drop out of the squad. New signing Tevita Satae is named and set to make his third Hull apperance since arriving from New Zealand.
Hull Squad: 1. Jamie Shaul, 2. Bureta Faraimo, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 4. Josh Griffin, 6. Albert Kelly, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 10. Josh Bowden, 12. Mark Minichiello, 14. Jake Connor, 19. Masimbaashe Matongo, 20. Brad Fash, 21. Sika Manu, 23. Mickey Paea, 24. Jack Logan, 33. Ratu Naulago, 34. Gareth Ellis, 39. Tevita Satae.
Castleford Squad: 1. Peter Mata’utia, 2. James Clare, 3. Greg Minikin, 6. Jake Trueman, 8. Liam Watts, 9. Paul McShane, 10. Grant Millington, 11. Oliver Holmes, 12. Mike McMeeken, 13. Adam Milner, 14. Nathan Massey, 15. Jesse Sene-Lefao, 18. Matt Cook, 20. Jamie Ellis, 23. Will Maher, 27. Calum Turner, 32. Jordan Rankin, 34. Daniel Smith, 35. Cheyse Blair.
Last Five Meetings
2019: Castleford 18 Hull FC 31
2019: Hull FC 28 Castleford 12
2019: Hull FC 18 Castleford 26
2018: Hull FC 8 Castleford 28
2018: Hull FC 36 Castleford 12
Who knows? We want to say Hull, but will they show up? Lets hope so. The Airlie Birds by four.