Well that was tough watching again as Hull FC succumbed to a 37-12 defeat to Warrington on Friday night.
The win against Huddersfield was fresh, but Hull as the pessimist in all of us expected, failed to build on it with the sides inconsistencies there for all to see. Unforced errors were in abundance and the defence didn’t cover itself in glory either.
The reality is Hull weren’t good enough. Fans and even players on social media can go on about tough calls etc, and whilst Warrington got most things their own way, they were also quicker, more skilful and generally better than anything we could muster.
Forget Ben Thaler, forget six again, forget dubious calls, forget anything like that. Until we get our own house in order then we’re not going to get anywhere. You can’t go through a Super League game with more than a dozen incompleted sets and loads of missed tackles then blame a couple of decisions or six again buzzers from the Headingley tannoy. But then again the new rules and the flurry of Warrington possession proper exposed us. It exposed us mentally but also skilfully too.
It got tough and as per Hull really lacked that bit of fight, that bit of aggression to knock someone over on their backside that is needed to succeed in this sport. There was no grit in the performance and we broke down again with no leaders coming to the fore. You think of those mental components that make up a rugby league player and we just haven’t got them anymore. Mentality there’s massive questions with this squad. They’re a joke at times. Just look at Scott Taylor’s Twitter page. Jesus wept.
Weak mentality. The Hull mentality. Where you win one game and can rest on your laurels. Even some of the local media were at it last week saying Hull had silenced their critics after beating a bottom half of the table Huddersfield side. Behave. It happens all over this club and we’ve got to have our ambitions and our benchmarks a little higher.
Hull need to take a long hard look at themselves, accept some realities and stop serving up this shite. Whilst the effort and endeavour weren’t in question the application and skill levels were. What Hull produce with the ball is just dross. There was no expansion. Nothing. The way we attack is negative, it’s clunky at best. It’s ugly. There was none of the mileage in the ball that we saw against Huddersfield, and instead a lot of one up stuff with a go-forward that struggled all night. Proper tedious, in fact proper boring and so frustrating to watch.
Look at the old enemy. They might be two from nine and sat second from bottom but they chuck the ball about and in beating Wigan on Thursday they were outstanding. The bastards. They were great to watch and the biggest kick in the knackers was that their best player was Jez Litten – that little hooker Hull didn’t give a fair crack to as they’d rather play a bloody back row forward there in Hadley or Washbrook. Also Liam Watts produced another offloading masterclass for Cas soon after. It still pisses us off every time we see him in a Tigers shirt. He should never have left this club in the first place. That was a massive mistake and we’ve seen plenty of them.
Recruitment hasn’t been right since Motu Tony left and it’s best exemplified with an outside back in Mahe Fonua who was signed despite Hull having three other wingers on the books. That cap space should have been spent elsewhere – perhaps up front or on a quality hooker. We see it every time Taylor doesn’t play that that go-forward just isn’t there. We really struggle up front and it’s telling that our top two metre makers by more than a country mile are our two centres in Carlos Tuimavave and Josh Griffin. No forward even comes close to them.
The kiss arses won’t like it but it’s just not good enough. You can make excuses all you like and say Shaul going off didn’t help, and Johnstone and Griffin briefly going off disrupted us, but it’s all a load of bollocks. Especially blaming the ref, come on. A couple of bullshit decisions don’t justify a lack of scrutiny on a sequence of offload attempts that just weren’t on and missing tackles that the cardboard cut-outs in the stand would have made. The unforced errors were awful and especially given that Hull were second best for the majority and needed every inch of ground to try and get back in the game. From a Hull point of view the way Warrington posted points at ease with Blake Austin once again playing in a dinner jacket was disgusting – a prop plodding through weak tackle attempts, a mistake in the in-goal, missed tackles out wide, and easy offloads resulting in more tries. It’s the way Hull go down so easily that is really concerning, but it’s all nothing new. There’s a weak culture at the club and it’s rotten to the core.
Whilst the top seventeen is decent on paper, if Hull have one or two players missing then the holes start to appear. That’s not to point score on who had who out either (Sky have already done enough of that), but instead to show our cap balance for what it is – a joke. There’s also the realisation too that players are not as good as we think we are – at least not whilst in this Hull set up. Think about it. It doesn’t matter who we sign, where they come from, or how good they are, within a few matches they are a shadow of their former self. The best example is Mark O’Meley who when he first came here was passing the ball James Graham-esque and offloading in his sleep. After a few games of trying to adapt to the way we play that was sucked out of him. That’s Hull in a nutshell. We’re negative. The way we play is negative. Everything is negative.
The only shining light is Albert Kelly and he’s off back to Australia at the end of the year. He was the biggest threat again. He’s an absolutely class act and currently a level above the bloke with the six shirt on his back. Doesn’t that just sum everything up. Some people will say it’s only a number but Kelly missed the opening four games of the season and his mind was probably made up then. He’s arguably the best player at the club – certainly our biggest attacking threat – and he’s leaving. Talk about mismanagement.
It’s tough to pick on individuals when the team’s shape is flat and just all wrong, but on his return to the side Adam Swift clearly lacked a bit of confidence and the likes of Josh Bowden and Mahe Fonua were just not involved enough – a reflection of Warrington’s dominance as much as anything. Ligi Sao too is the current example of the Hull rut – all offloads at the start of the year but in the past two games they’ve been absent and his impact minimal. You also think what a mobile back rower we’ve got in Manu Ma’u and he’s used as a battering ram. We can be the dumbest team on the planet, so unimaginative with no poise or flair.
One step forward and two back again, this side will get exactly what they deserve in this basket case of a season. Nothing. The sooner it’s all done with the better. We’re half way through the regular rounds now and any top four talk is more ridiculous than P45cock’s five-year plan. After so much promise this is where we are, a bit of a catastrophe, but this is Hull FC and we all know the script. 2021? Strewth, mate.
Hipster walkway behind the Western Terrace. Anyone got a scaffold?
Warrington Starting XIII: 26. Matty Ashton, 2. Tom Lineham, 17. Jake Mamo, 3. Anthony Gelling, 5. Josh Charnley, 6. Blake Austin, 21. Declan Patton, 16. Leilani Latu, 9. Daryl Clark, 10. Mike Cooper, 11. Ben Currie, 4. Toby King, 1. Stefan Ratchford. Interchange: 22. Luis Johnson, Ellis Longstaff, 27. Ellis Robson, 20. Danny Walker.
Warrington Tries: Cooper, Ashton, Mamo 2, Latu, Austin. Goals: Ratchford 5/5, Patton 1/1. Drop Goal: Austin
Hull Starting XIII: 1. Jamie Shaul, 5. Adam Swift, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 4. Josh Griffin, 2. Bureta Faraimo, 14. Albert Kelly, 6. Jake Connor, 13. Ligi Sao, 16. Jordan Johnstone, 30. Jack Brown, 12. Manu Ma’u, 21. Jordan Lane. 20. Brad Fash. Interchange: 22. Josh Bowden, 9. Danny Houghton, 24. Mahe Fonua, 26. Kieran Buchanan.
Hull Tries: Griffin, Tuimavave. Goals: Connor 2/2
Scoring System: 0-6 (Griffin), 6-6 (Cooper), 12-6 (Ashton), 12-12 (Tuimavave), 18-12 (Mamo), 19-12, 25-12 (Mamo), 31-12 (Latu), 37-12 (Austin).
Referee: Ben Thaler
Attendance: Behind closed doors