Hull FC coasted to another Derby win in unusual territory at St Helens’ Langtree Park, winning 31-16 on Thursday night.
Here is Up the Cream’s Five Things column.
1.. Kings of Hull
There are few greater things as a Hull FC fan than getting one over those Red and White bastards – even if this 237th Hull Derby was played behind closed doors and at the farcical venue of Langtree Park. It was far from a classic either, they are a really poor side, and Hull coasted for parts after earning a comfortable lead.
Sure credit is due and Hull produced some good stuff to get the win with the usual suspects excelling, but it was to be expected. Rovers, in their third game in eight days, had a dig and stuck with Hull for half an hour, but once Jake Connor got into his groove, there was only one winner.
The first half seemed to flow by, and the second was scrappy to say the least. Hull became a little conservative when many, UTC included, would have loved another battering. Still its another Derby win with the Clive Sullivan Trophy back where it belongs, and we can’t complain too much at that.
2.. Three wins in a row
This is the first time in 2020 that Hull FC have managed to put three wins together. That’s now ten in both competitions this season, with nine defeats contributing to the current position of sixth in the table and a quarter-final cup exit.
Andy Last has won seven of them, losing five times in his dozen games in charge. The numbers whilst not as catastrophic as one could think, don’t set the world alight either – in fact the wins (three over Castleford, two over Huddersfield, one over Wakefield and now one over Rovers) have come against teams every man and his dog would have expected Hull to beat. It’s a bit of a false pretence – in fact you have to go back to the opening night at Headingley to the last time Hull actually beat a side above them in the table.
At is stands Hull face St Helens next week then finish the year against Wigan. That, should Super League not move the goalposts again and opt for a longer play-off system instead of two more regular rounds, may well give a better indication to where this Hull side are at. There’s also the realisation that Hull could be involved in a newly formed play-off system should it involve six teams. Try not to laugh.
Of course you can only beat what’s in front of you, but the reality is that every time Hull have come up against a side above them they’ve been smashed. In defeats post-lockdown, Wigan, Warrington and Leeds all scored 36 points or more. Don’t forget the Salford abomination either. Sure some recent results have been satisfactory, but it will take more than a few wins against Super League’s dross to change our opinions. Feet still firmly on the ground.
3.. The Snake
Jake Connor has took some huge pelters this year given his desire to play in the halves, but he loves a Hull Derby and on his 100th appearance for Hull FC he was absolutely outstanding. Roaming about the field with the freedom the fullback position allows, the Snake popped up to deliver four classy try assists from both hand and boot.
Connor was very slick and looked confident. Unlike in the halves there’s no pressure on him at fullback and his execution in delivering cut out passes or delicate kicks to the winger were excellent. It’s a shame a knock to his knee saw him leave the field early, but it takes little away from a top display.
4.. Tank on the flank
Bureta Faraimo is a wrecking ball. He’s actually brilliant. But you know how it goes. He gets left three on one, the opposition score and it’s all his fault. He makes the odd error too, he’s only human (although he and many alike must cut them out), and he gets lynched again.
But here’s the thing; Bureta Faraimo is Hull’s best winger. For yardage alone there are few better. What a powerhouse. He skittles players. The run that gave the field position for Josh Bowden’s opener – just wow – and after waiting all season to bag a try he now has four in his last three outings. Long may it continue. It’s nothing less than he deserves.
5.. Albert Kelly
Albert Kelly announced on his personal Instagram before the Derby that he will be flying back to Australia with his family next week, with a hamstring injury ending a six year stay in the city of Hull.
After two years over the river, Albey saw the light and signed for Hull on a free. That comedy element, due to how bitter them lot have been over it, never went away. They were absolutely ADAMANT that it was only a matter of time before he went off the rails. A ticking time bomb so they said, but one chicken nugget incident aside, he’s been outstanding both on and off the field.
In 74 appearances, Kelly scored 44 tries for Hull FC, plus the solitary drop-goal. At his peak he was untouchable and he put everything into every game, sometimes to his detriment, with injuries common throughout his four years at the club.
What a player though. That running game was lethal, but Kelly was equally at home in defence. A Wembley winner in 2017, and a sort right up there with Hull’s recent best, he deserved a better ending. It’s a cruel game at times, but the name Albert Kelly will never be forgotten.