Hull FC put in a flat and jaded performance against Castleford on Thursday night, losing 12-23 at the MKM Stadium.
Here is Up the Cream’s Five Things column.
1.. That level of performance should never be accepted
Whilst Hull weren’t great against Rovers, they did enough and last Saturday the KCOM Stadium was bouncing after a competitive and entertaining Derby match, yet on Thursday night against Castleford you could hear a pin drop following a flat and jaded performance.
Everything about Hull was lacking energy. It was a poor performance all round with key errors and poor discipline both in abundance.
It was the sort of display that over the past few years we’ve seen way too often – especially at home. It wasn’t good enough and it should never be accepted.
Excuses are pathetic and can do one. Some of these blokes are on huge money, it’s the most expensive Hull squad ever after all, and it’s not far fetched to demand more.
Hull currently sit in eighth place, and whilst mathematically at least a play-off finish isn’t beyond them, it’s looking a tall order with just four games left.
2.. Poor game management
That was a massive game and one that Hull had to win by any means necessary. It was a tight game too in the first half with the scores locked up at 6-6.
Amongst the first tackle errors in good field position, Hull’s game management was shocking.
They had two opportunities to go for goal, but they passed them both by, took the tap, made an error, and then conceded off the back of it.
We’re not usually advocates for taking penalty goals, but in a huge game where every inch and every point is invaluable, you take everything you can get.
Perhaps a measly two points would have only delayed the inevitable, but a lack of leadership is a phrase many point out at Hull right now and this is a great example of it.
Sneyd should have been screaming for that tee. Bang them over, take the narrow lead, and build from there.
Instead Hull found themselves 6-13 down at half time and they never looked capable of bringing it back.
3.. Best covers worst
It’s been apparent for most of the season that the very best of Hull covers their worst. For instance, one shudders to think where this side would be this year without the contributions of Jake Connor at full back who has been nothing short of brilliant.
Sure, not everything has been catastrophic about Hull this year, and it’s easy to forget that Hull were rolling along okay before the covid outbreaks hit. However, Connor, along with Satae, have been Hull’s best, and they have definitely papered over some cracks.
The likes of Sneyd and Houghton are covered when the full spine is playing, but their limitations show when they’re not all out there on the pitch together.
Whilst the creative sorts weren’t helped with the continued errors elsewhere, when Hull did get favourable possession, they rarely looked a threat. Houghton offered nothing with the ball and Sneyd too struggled to get going.
That’s a cause for concern, right? Both players have been huge for Hull in the past, but both are limited now. Hull can’t afford to carry key players who are reliant on others to perform to their best. They need players that can pull something out of the bag, like Connor has all year, and that’s why a new direction must be taken with at least the hooking position, and perhaps the number seven spot too.
4.. Faraimo firing
A positive of sorts… Bureta Faraimo gave another good account of himself. We say of sorts because as we all know Faraimo is leaving for Castleford in a few months time.
He’s leaving because Hull can’t afford to be so bottom heavy in outside backs on the salary cap. He’s leaving because the chairman insisted on re-signing Mahe Fonua who hasn’t cut it since returning to the club, and Hull need that quota spot, although what they do with it is anyone’s guess given that the club are apparently right up to the thresholds on said cap.
On Thursday night Faraimo was strong again. There is an error in him, but he runs the ball in as good as any and his attitude is exemplary.
We like Faraimo, there’s a player there, and the situation is a drum we will continue to bang because it’s a massive example of the clubs mismanagement these days. Who cares what the fans said, the club should know better than that. You can’t run a business on sentiment.
5.. Hodgson is going to need time
Brett Hodgson has already started to stamp his mark at Hull. The defensive structures have obviously been improved, there’s a clear resilience about Hull now, and there’s been glimpses in attack at times too. Positional wise we’ve seen a desire for speedster wingers with Adam Swift re-signed and Darnell McIntosh announced as a new signing for next year. Jordan Lane has moved up to loose forward as well in another positional direction.
That’s about all Hodgson can do for now though and he is going to need time. He’s going to need time because the large majority of this squad, particularly some blokes on big money who are not cutting it, not to mention the Hull mafia who think they run the place, are signed up for next year and beyond, and there’s no chance they’ll be paid off early given the current climate.
It’s a shit situation, and it’s similar to the one under Lee Radford as well who had to wait until his third year as boss before he could really bring in who he wanted after two years of getting rid of dead wood.
There’s a common theme here isn’t they, except the bloke then dishing out the contracts was supposed to be a bloke who knew the ins and outs of rugby league.
What a mess, and it’s not going to get better anytime soon.