Hull FC’s rancid run of form extended to seven losses in eight games as Leeds defeated them 25-24 at the Magic Weekend.
Here is Up the Cream’s Five Things column.
1.. Hull just not good enough
Despite some atrocious defence, Hull were much improved compared to the dross they served up at Salford, but that’s not exactly saying much. Still, we saw effort and emotion, and they certainly had a dig against Leeds, but we need more than that.
It was still the same outcome and the same frustrations in another disturbed and farcical season – one that will now end in two weeks time with a finish outside of the play-off positions. It’s incredibly disappointing.
After a promising start that saw a lot of what Brett Hodgson is trying to install come to the fore, those qualities have all been absent in recent weeks and it’s the squad holes that have both showed and then hindered the progress.
Hull will finish exactly where they deserve. Overall, they are a long way off being a top side and that’s despite the squad costing in the region of £2.5million. Talk about mismanagement.
It’s going to take a fair bit to change that as well with the big one being personal, but we also need to see a culture change too. Fitness is certainly up for debate and they can’t hide behind covid forever, but so are the ‘only Hull’ errors and the lack of discipline that has crept back into the performances over the past eight or so games. Sometimes it’s to the point where you can come to no other conclusion other than it’s in their DNA. It’s infuriating.
After a lot of talk, it’s been another underwhelming year, and with players tied up and an owner not facing up to the problems (you won’t get any accountability – just a rant in a couple of months time asking you to renew), it’s not going to get better anytime soon.
2.. Quick ruck
In a game that swung one way and then the other, the incident that cost Hull (with Leeming slotting over the drop-goal soon after), was ultimately the quick play of the ball from Bureta Faraimo with Danny Houghton failing to get to the ruck in time.
It’s the cardinal sin for a number nine and it’s not the first time it’s happened either. We all remember his back turned against Warrington as Brad Fash played the ball last year. Embarrassing – and it sums Hull up who attack with little to no pace.
Houghton’s effort week on week is unquestionable, but if Faraimo gets a quick play of the ball like that at Castleford next year, then Paul McShane will be half way down the pitch. That’s the difference in a nutshell, and we know what we’d rather have.
3.. Connor was Hull’s best yet again
After a year playing at fullback, Jake Connor lined up in the halves against Leeds, although his biggest contributions were when he was in ‘fullback like’ areas of the field.
Standing out wide, Connor first used his ability in the air to sublimely flick back a Sneyd kick to his centre Tuimavave for yet another try assist – a brilliant play – before coming onto the ball out wide on the left edge to squeeze over for try himself.
Despite another defeat, the Snake continues to have the biggest say in Hull’s most prominent moments game to game, week to week, year on year. One shudders to think where Hull would be without him, and the scary thing? He’s still learning and he’s only going to get better and better.
4.. Video ref strikes again
Some will view this as “they’re ranting about the officials because Hull lost” but that’s a load of bollocks. They weren’t the reason Hull lost. Why mention them then? Well, this is about more than just Hull FC. It’s about the integrity of the game.
The decision from Ben Thaler to overturn Robert Hicks’ on field call and rule that Jake Connor knocked the ball on was complete and utter bullshit. It was level at worst and on the big screen at St James Park, everyone could see it.
Thaler was the same video ref that disallowed three Hull tries in the Derby last month as well. He’s not exactly endearing himself to this part of the world, but it’s bigger than that.
How many times do you watch a game on Sky or go to a televised rugby league match and leave ranting about the video ref? Whether that be the decision itself, or the onfield call, it’s a common occurrence most weeks.
The system should be there to aid the game, but these days all it does it hinder it.
Ironically the on field ref got the call here right, yet here we are again with a bloke in a box who’s seen something different to everyone else. What? Well, and like in most cases, that’s the big question isn’t it. Just bin it off.
5.. It’s Magic(?)
The Magic Weekend has been running since 2007. We know what it’s all about now; a piss up for the fans, innit.
Hosting the event for the fifth time, St James Park is a magnificent venue and Newcastle itself is something away from the norm.
It’s a vibrant city full of life, and one that is well away from the M62 corridor.
And if Magic is about growing the game, then Newcastle is right too, with the city boasting both the Thunder and a local amateur scene.
As for day one, and despite another frustrating outcome for us Hull fans, as a neutral you couldn’t have asked for much more with two games going to golden point.
Catalans’ comeback win over St Helens was an absolute thriller. It was as good as anything you’ll see in Super League this year and it captivated the large majority of the crowd who were backing the French side – even Sam Tomkins.
The roof nearly came off after James Maloney belted over the drop-goal to give Catalans a historic first ever League Leaders Shield. What an achievement for the French game, and of course for Hull-born and ex-Hull larker Steve McNamara too.
Sunday saw three more games, and whilst they didn’t match the heights of the previous day, the aggregate crowd of 60,866 will tick a lot of boxes after the events 2020 hiatus. Bring on next year.