What was supposed to be a fresh start for Hull FC after lockdown turned into another nightmare after Salford scored ten tries to inflict a 54-18 defeat on interim head coach Andy Last’s side.
It was an absolutely disgusting display, but the worst thing about it all is that these types of performances happen so frequently that we all know the script now. That was horrendous, blood boiling bad, and so atrocious that it leaves us fans questioning once again what the hell is going on at this club right now.
We are all absolutely sick of these displays. They are embarrassing, humiliating and get right under your skin. We are absolutely livid with that. Fuming. Forget ability, we will come on to that later, there was no fight on the field, and once the heads dropped the side resembled thirteen headless chickens with less mobility than the cardboard cut outs in the Headingley best stand. That’s unforgivable. Defeats happen. That’s part and parcel of sport. What a supporter cannot accept is that lack of fight. There was no energy, no enthusiasm, and as the scoreboard became more sinister the more the soft underbelly was exposed. There was no resemblance of a team out there – individuals dropped into their shells and watched the action unfold like frightened scarecrows.
Normality returns, then. We’ve been here so many times over the past couple of seasons or so. We’ve had our moments for sure, although few and far between, but there’s also the realisation that Hull can be weak as staled piss. Far too comfortable with their surroundings with the knowledge in some cases that they’re untouchable, perhaps either for past achievements, stance at the club or both. Whilst producing snippets of brilliance, some of these players have also got away with murder. Constant smoke blown up their arse (and we’re as guilty as any) despite record losses to different oppositions and in one case an all-time record and quite hideous defeat. This one was the exact same rancid record score line that Salford dished out on our own turf three years ago. Again embarrassing and the volume in which they have come has to set the alarm bells ringing.
Many thought Lee Radford was the problem, but there’s a deeper issue here. It’s that word again, comfortable. Hull were comfortable with a Wembley win in 2016 when we should have won the lot. The same again in 2017 when the big boys were in transition mode. We then got too comfortable with our squad, complacent or sentimental if you like. Recruitment was awful. Many wake up calls were given last year and the roster was finally freshened up, but it seems we’ve got to the point of no return with some players now, at least when the attitude reeks like this. What else can it be? Why do these same disgusting defeats happen time and time again? Why do the same problems continue to unfold? Why is it that one or two quick fire tries against us turn into a massacre? Again it’s all nothing new. How many times over the years have we had success and failed to kick on, then looked back after removing nostalgic rose tinted glasses and realised we should have achieved a lot more? History. It loves to repeat itself. The culture is rotten. We’re slotting back into mediocrity at ease.
Cut them some slack? Well there is the realisation that ruts happen in sport – look at the Brisbane Broncos right now. An absolute car crash. They insist they’re giving everything, sometimes it just doesn’t go your way, a bounce of the ball or a dubious decision, but you can’t go down that road with Hull though, not here, not again. Fans are sick of excuses and this is where we come to quality. That side is quality, at least on paper. Under no circumstances should it be turning out performances like that getting spanked by fifty points after the gutless show against Warrington which cost an honest bloke his job, and especially not when you’ve voiced to the local media how things have changed and how fresh we all are and how we’ve trained the house down. They’ve hung Andy Last out to dry there. It’s all baffling, and so questionable. It’s a filthy line up. There’s current internationals amongst it, there’s players that were voted in the top five of Man of Steel charts just two and a half years ago, there’s players that were nominated for Daly M awards in Australia, players that made Roosters centre Joey Manu look like an amateur in a test series not so long ago. Quality isn’t an issue, far from it, application, well that’s another story.
Those only Hull FC mistakes. The first tackle knock ons when either coming out our own end or looking to score at the other, both wingers jamming in like an ostrich on steroids, the ill-discipline, the wayward pass. We can all paint the picture. Even players like Carlos Tuimavave, usually so reliable to the point where most middle aged blokes are questioning their sexual orientation, made blunders. Current Dream Team members, Tongan Terminators, Beasts with Golden Teeth, all on presumable hefty salaries, and none were exempt from criticism. It was all too familiar, and all too amateur.
One swallow certainly doesn’t make a summer. The contrast from the hardworking professional outfit that took to the field on the same ground six months ago is so vast you’d be forgiven for thinking it didn’t happen. Here against Salford this Hull side couldn’t hold the ball, they couldn’t react to what the opposition threw at them and therefore they couldn’t defend their line. Hull showed no grit, no determination, no pace, and were slower than ten slugs in a 100m dash. When those timid hands actually managed to keep hold of the ball, the attack was far too predictable, slow, completely orthodox and for the large majority painful to observe. Energy was non-existent, it’s far too easy to blame the new rules but to do so would be a load of bollocks, there was no urgency. Hull were lethargic and compared to a fired up Salford side who of course produced some silky stuff, looked like a group of puddings sweating at the first hurdle. Out played. Out enthused.
To state the absolute obvious there’s work to be done, but there’s also the realisation that this year after every passing defeat is a write off. That’s the way us fans have felt for a while, especially when it became so apparent that matches were to be played behind closed doors. An absolute farce really with beaches rammed to the last grain of sand and pubs packed to the rafters. We felt like proper imbeciles walking back to the car after watching the game through a reasonable gap in the barriers and on two Sky Go devices, especially given the end we were stood outside was on Mahe Fonua’s edge, but there’s a run to be kept. Mr Kevin Deighton. Proper FC. Over 1,500 consecutive games including friendlies. 1980 to 2020 and still going. It’s absolutely remarkable and on that note a massive shout out to club chief executive James Clark who tried everything to get Kev into the ground. You could say covid has done us all a favour, but it doesn’t work like that. It’s in your blood, it’s an obsession, an absolute obsession and when you get dished out a display like that it fucking hurts.
We hope that same level of hurt is amongst that Hull FC squad right now. They’ve got some soul searching to do before they even think about heading out onto a rugby league field again, although one can’t wait to hear how well they have trained on Wednesday. On to the next one. Shudders.
Salford Starting XIII: 1. Niall Evalds, 23. Ken Sio, 3. Kris Welham, 4. Dan Sarginson, 22. Rhys Williams, 6. Tui Lolohea, 18. Chris Atkin, 8. Lee Mossop, 9. Joey Lussick, 14. Sebastine Ikahihifo, 11. Ryan Lannon, 13. Tyrone McCarthy, 17. Luke Yates. Interchange: 12. Pauli Pauli, 19. Mark Flanagan, 20. Josh Johnson, 24. Elliott Kear.
Salford Tries: Sio 2, Lolohea 2, Williams 2, Atkin, Yates, Welham, Evalds. Goals: Lolohea 7/10
Hull Starting XIII: 1. Jamie Shaul, 33. Ratu Naulago, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 4. Josh Griffin, 24. Mahe Fonua, 14. Albert Kelly, 7. Marc Sneyd, 29. Gareth Ellis, 9. Danny Houghton, 13. Ligi Sao, 11. Josh Jones, 12. Manu Ma’u, 23. Andre Savelio. Interchange: 10. Chris Satae, 22. Josh Bowden, 6. Jake Connor, 15. Joe Cator.
Hull Tries: Kelly, Ma’u, Shaul. Goals: Sneyd 3/3
Hull Sin Bin: Ratu Naulago
Referee: Liam Moore
Scoring System: 0-6, 6-6, 12-6, 18-6, 22-6, 22-12, 28-12, 28-18, 34-18, 38-18, 42-18, 48-18, 54-18.