Hull FC’s mental 2020 season ended with a 29-2 defeat at Wigan in the Super League play-offs.
Here is Up the Cream’s Five Things…
1.. The year that was
That’s it. The end of the 2020 season for Hull FC. Good riddance to it an all. It won’t be missed.
From absolutely rancid results like Warrington at home to the Salford restart, whilst witnessing the last 14 games on the box as they’ve been played behind closed doors, it’s been an abomination.
Results eventually picked up against Castleford and the like (can we play you every week?), and Hull managed to feature in a farcical play-off series, but overall it was far from good enough.
It all coincided with an absolute basket case set of events that followed off the field. Covid hit virtually everyone, games were postponed on a weekly basis, the goalposts were moved not once but twice, and the whole competition transcended into a farce.
It won’t make a difference to the club that eventually wins it though, but thankfully Hull don’t have to endure it anymore.
2.. Class is permanent
Wigan were outstanding and that was another brutal reminder to how far away Hull are to the very best in Super League.
Toppling Warrington last week was brilliant, but Hull could only match Wigan for 20-25 minutes. Everyone has commented on the Griffin incident, but Wigan blew Hull away after the first lot of interchanges. It’s like they knew what was coming.
Once Zak Hardaker got their third try just after half time that was it. Hull showed little sign they could get back into it. There was a gulf in class.
Three years ago it was roles reversed. The same applied for St Helens. It’s frustrating how it’s swung back around so quickly. There’s a mountain to climb now.
3.. Scott Taylor
Hull were in the thick of the action early on at Wigan and Scott Taylor was at the heart of it.
His first stint was absolutely immense. His best in ages.
Taylor was on fire. His footwork in his carries was on point and his energy in defence was incredible.
That reaction to Oliver Partington losing the ball. The passion. That’s what it’s all about.
Ligi Sao was good too, and Chris Satae has had his moments this year. He was superb off the bench last week.
Hull need one or two more forwards to get to that level. Who will come in and when is a big question – but what is a certainty is that it’s a big one for the likes of Josh Bowden and Brad Fash next year.
4.. One Gareth Ellis
Three modern day club legends of Wigan, St Helens and Hull; Sean O’Loughlin, James Graham, and Gareth Ellis deserve more than to bow out in empty stadiums this month.
Actually Ellis, due to a knee injury, last played against Castleford in the cup back in September and at least was lucky enough to get a win to finish off his professional career.
Ellis will go down as one of the greatest ever players to have played for Hull. A back to back Wembley winning captain, he’s an absolute legend, and words will never do him justice.
O’Loughlin and Graham though will likely face off in the Super League Grand Final played at Hull‘s KCOM Stadium next week. One career will end in glory and the other in agony. They deserve to be playing in front of 70,000+ fans at Old Trafford, just as Ellis deserved one last moment of appreciation in front of the Old Faithful.
5.. The Future
What next for Hull? Well there’s decisions to be made on who will be the head coach for 2021 and one would hope we’ll see some recruitment as well. Realistic expectations will have to be put into place given what’s going on in the world right now, both for the new coach and any potential new player. There’s no secret the current situation favours Andy Last though but whether he is the answer or not is still to be desired.
Have the players responded to him enough to warrant making the interim tag permanent? Well problems at Hull that have been here for a while now haven’t gone away after a long overdue performance at Warrington, there’s issues with how this side play, how they defend, the inconsistency, and the lack of adaptation. Hull eighty minutes from the Grand Final and despite how good that sounds, are in a false position.
Performances have improved recently and it’s been far from meaningless. It’s been a set of auditions for next year if you like but now they are over and it’s time to see who gets the roles and who comes into to replace those departing. It’s a huge off-season for Hull now. They have to get it right, as another year of frustration just cannot be accepted.