Hull FC crashed out the Challenge Cup following a 36-4 defeat to Wigan on Saturday evening.
Here is Up the Cream’s Five Things column.
1.. Gulf in class
Hull don’t just get beat these days. They get battered and make no mistake about it Wigan battered Hull. The Pies dominated the game and it all started up front. They found ground easier to come by and won the field position battle from the off. That stronghold didn’t look like breaking until Chris Satae and Ligi Sao came on but by then the damage was already done.
It’s easier to say with hindsight that at least one (perhaps both) should have started the game but Wigan won that cup tie in the first five minutes. They showed a massive gulf in class between the two sides and Hull have got a mountain of work to do to reach that level again. Sure some good things happened against Castleford last week but against a top side Hull were found wanting once more. The truth is that right now Wigan and the like are a million miles away and after being on the same mantel just a few short years ago it’s bloody depressing.
2.. The errors
Hull FC are far from the worst team that has ever lived but they’d make a strong case for being the dumbest.
The errors this side make week to week are infuriating. Whether forced or unforced, whether coming out of yardage or on the attack, or whether just through a lack of concentration, a laziness or going through the motions, there is a complete lack of respect for possession and it’s killing any chance of victory.
Mistakes are part and parcel of the game but when you can’t even get the basics right what chance do you have? It happens every week. Read the latest fanzine. It’s buried deep within them. Part of their DNA. Even the new ones pick it up and it doesn’t matter who the club sign the same errors occur. Hull have got to cut them out but how is the million dollar question. Well these days a complete and utter overhaul is proving the only answer. That means the culture, the coaching, the boardroom, the bloody lot. It’s that serious.
We can’t wait for the owners annual rallying call at the end of the season. ‘Get your memberships it’ll all be different next year.’ Not heard that one before have we.
Mr Pearson has got a massive job on his hands to sort this club out. Hull need a new direction and a new head coach must be acquired, but a proper head coach with his desired assistants and not a cheap option.
He can say money is tight all he likes despite having a record number of commercial partners and almost 9,000 members on board, but fans are sick of the dross served up. If it doesn’t happen and the club stick with what they’ve got and that includes the backroom staff too (Where’s Motu Tony’s replacement?), then membership numbers will drop like they did under Richard Agar and the club will really feel it. That’s the last thing we want, but that’s the reality of it.
A fresh approach will instantly improve things. The balls in your court Adam. Go hard or go home.
4.. Kelly vs Connor
When Albert Kelly plays Hull will always be a threat but when he doesn’t they are bottom four fodder. That’s not a knee-jerk reaction based on Saturday either but a realisation of numerous inept displays without the clubs best player.
Whilst Connor has performed well in the halves before for both Hull and England, he has really struggled for form this year and is not a patch on Albert. It’s therefore hard to fathom why the hell the former was given the six shirt and the latter the fourteen shirt for this season.
Either the club saw Connor as the long-term successor, or Connor spat his dummy out over it. Either way it’s really bad management and clearly it pissed Kelly off.
Kelly is Hull’s only ray of sunshine and he’s leaving. It’s absolute madness that this is being allowed to happen.
Most of us were guilty at the start of the season for thinking that squad was a top four squad but ask yourself this, how many of Hull FC’s best players would currently get into a Wigan, Warrington or St Helens team? Albert Kelly for sure, Carlos Tuimavave too, perhaps Manu Ma’u as well, but after that you are struggling.
Right now that squad is not as good as we think they are and far too much smoke gets blown up their backsides. In fact a few holes appear straight away and that was even apparent pre-lockdown. You take Albert Kelly out and there’s no running threat. You take a Gareth Ellis and a Scott Taylor out and the side has no leadership. But that’s all fine because Hull signed Mahe Fonua when he wasn’t needed to appease the owner and his cult following. That cap money should have been spent on a forward, and not another who’s injury prone but who fits the bill because he was cheap.
That’s not the only example but it’s that sort of mismanagement that has been the clubs downfall for the past two/three years now. Sure a decent coaching set up would get more results but that squad is so unbalanced and it has to take some of the onus. Mentality they are weak, they get heavily beaten on a regular basis, there is little cohesion amongst them and collectively as an attacking unit they are hopeless against the top sides. After so much promise on the opening night this is where Hull are now. It’s not good enough and it needs calling out.