Hull FC’s four match winning streak against the Whinos came to end on Thursday night, with Leeds running out 22-40 winners at Headingley.
The defeat was Hull’s eighth of the Super League season, and with the play-offs being nothing more than a pipe dream, you’ll forgive this one for having a focus on next year.
Here is Up the Cream’s Five Things column.
1.. New Coach
Brian Carney said on Sky after the game that “there are rumours that Hull FC are closing in on a head coach appointment.” That will send the old mill into overdrive. Who could it be? Well the rumours have circulated on loads of names and we seem to hear a different one every day which does make for some great entertainment.
If Hull FC stay with a U.K based appointment they could do a lot worse than Danny Ward or Ian Watson, although Shaun Wane would be the preferred option for us at least – we’ll keep dreaming.
Overseas is more tricky but the NRL clubs haven’t been shy in sacking coaches this season. Former North Queensland coach Paul Green has been mentioned and that would be a shout and half. How about Shane Flanagan too?
There’s loads of options and as long as Hull don’t go down the assistant route and instead opt for someone tried and tested they can’t go far wrong.
2.. Soft defence
You’d struggle to find a softer defence than the one on show from this current Hull FC side. The amount of points they leak is ridiculous and most of the time you can see it coming.
Hull kept going until the end against Leeds and whilst they were some things about their performance that avoid contact with the pitchforks, they still conceded a total of 40 points. That’s 398 points conceded in fourteen Super League games now for an average of 28 points a game. Rancid.
You can’t go anywhere until you get your defence right and it’s the first thing Hull FC’s new head coach, whoever it may be, has to get right next year.
3.. One and Six
Jake Connor with the ball in the full back position looked the part again and some of his passing with the pressure off was outstanding. However, defensively he was one of the worst against Leeds for letting soft tries in.
What do we want? Jamie Shaul who still frustrates many despite other areas to his game which are sublime, or a naturally gifted passer of the ball in Connor?
Again that’s a massive call for whoever comes in as coach, and also depends on who Hull could bring in at six should they go with Connor at one.
Ben McNamara has looked sound in his first two appearances but he’s only 18-years-old and the worst thing we can do is expect too much of him too soon.
If Hull go with Shaul at one next year, it’s likely that Connor will be at six again, and whilst it’s not worked out this year, whose to say that under some new and improved structures the new coach won’t get the best out of both?
There’s also the crazy option of sticking Connor at centre. Seem to remember him ripping up the Kiwi test team there.
But then Hull would likely have to go sign a six. Decisions, man.
The club must make a call in the off season and stick to it. Hull can’t afford the time to be tinkering next year.
4.. Jack Brown
Jack Brown looks the part doesn’t he. Obviously there’s a little naivety with his youth and he’s not the finished article but he fronts up and offers Hull something every time he takes to the field.
For a prop he’s a try-scoring machine too and he stretched out superbly to score his third meat pie for the club.
Brown is contracted until the end of next year but there’s absolutely no harm extending that before the tinpot clubs come calling. Get it done, lads.
Fair play to Hull FC for stepping up to play the fixture against Leeds.
After Castleford absolutely bottled it (just kidding…), both Super League and Sky Sports needed a Thursday night slot to be filled at short notice. Hull obliged.
It wasn’t the greatest result, and far from the greatest performance, but it showed what Hull are prepared to do for the betterment of the competition. Given the fixture wasn’t a necessity on their part either, they’ve shown how highly they value the deal with Sky and with negotiations coming at the end of next year it’s a good time to be sucking up to them.