Hull FC’s run of rancid form ended with a ninth defeat in ten as Wakefield ran out 44-12 winners in the season finale.
Here is Up the Cream’s Five Things column.
1.. Mentality and Attitude
Hull were abysmal at Wakefield and they got exactly what they deserved. With nothing but pride to play for, there was no heart, no desire, no enthusiasm, nothing, and Wakefield took advantage to humiliate Hull taking a 34-0 lead half time. It was embarrassing.
Lethargic efforts and going through the motions, it perfectly summed up the dross we’ve seen for weeks on end now and quite frankly some of the player attitudes stink. Mentally too they are as weak as stale piss. They were beaten before they even got out onto the field.
It wasn’t like that in the first half of the season though. Hull showed so much fight in the early months and they were resilient to get some superb results in the face of adversity.
They showed, being a quick turnaround from the dross of last year and the one before that, that mentality and attitude can be taught and can be changed, so long as they were all willing to accept Brett Hodgson’s methods and become the best version of themselves again.
They did that for a bit, but now after a complete turnaround in form where you can certainly question a poor attitude and lack of mentality to win, the big question is are they genuinely willing to become that version again. Do they back their coach? Or do they want it all their own way? Recent performances have led many to believe it’s the latter, and that’s why the players, no the leadership group who seem the biggest culprits, have been called out. The manner of defeat – never underestimate its importance – and the manner recently has been disgusting.
Despite a ninth loss in ten, both the covid card and the injury card are still coming out. And as usual there’s no attention to who the opposition had out either. It’s not like covid has swept across the comp like wildfire and every club has seen their troops go down as they’ve struggled (when they can be arsed at least) to complete their fixtures. No, not at all.
Excuses can do one. Proper do one. Hull are where they are for a reason and ultimately it’s because they haven’t been good enough.
There’s plenty of reasons to why that is. Mentality. Attitude. Lack of fitness. Loss of form. Unforced errors. Indiscipline. Poor defence. Squad holes. You name it.
Again, it wasn’t like that early on, but it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish and this lot haven’t got the mental strength to back it up week in week out.
Hull have only themselves to blame for an eighth placed finish and that’s why changes must be made. They’ve had enough chances.
3.. Enough is enough
Every year we get fed the same bullshit about top four and silverware and near enough every year we get let down. Jokes on us though as who else would get sucked back in year after year like lambs to the slaughter. Our loyalty is taken for granted. We are mugs.
Except we are absolutely sick of it. Sick of the same dross and the same problems every year failing to be addressed. Everyone not wearing blinkers could see last year that Hull needed a hooker but nothing was done. The same goes for a prop or two. Again nothing. It’s just not good enough.
Hull need to get much wiser as a club and kick sentiment out of the window when making decisions on new contracts and new signings. You just can’t run a business like that and expect results. It’s insanity.
The club have got to get ruthless and it starts with the owner backing up his words, ripping a contact up or two, and copping the financial burden. Times are tough, but we also get record merchandise sales and record commercial partner spin when it suits so he’s going to have to find the money from somewhere and make these changes, or fans will vote with their feet. We’ve had enough.
4.. Snake number one
Admittedly it’s like squeezing the life out of the straws never mind clutching at them, but once again the best bits of Hull came from Jake Connor when he was moved to fullback.
With another try assist coming for Mitieli Vilikijapani in the second half, Connor finishes the Super League season with 22 plus 6 tries as Hull’s most creative outlet and try contributor by far – ridiculous numbers given how bad the second half of the season has been. In fact, Hull have only won one league game without Connor this year. The same goes for Josh Reynolds and Hull’s win percentage is therefore greater with them two players in the side than it is without them.
Funny that isn’t it? They get a lot of stick because they’re not Shaul and they’re not. Sneyd (boys club for life) but the numbers speak for themselves.
Looking at the future, it’s down to Hull and Hodgson to build a team around them as they are the best and most influential players at this club by far.
The rest will have to like it or lump it as that’s the way forward. Embrace change or wither and die.
5.. Jacob Hookem debut
Despite all the dross elsewhere, there was a big positive on Friday night and that was the performance of Jacob Hookem.
The teenage half back has been training with the first team all year and he finally got his chance after being an unused interchange in the defeat to Catalans last month.
At Wakefield, he got on much earlier than he probably anticipated, but he was fearless.
Showing some confidence and enthusiasm clearly lacking elsewhere, Hookem tried to pull the strings and engaged the line.
Hull have made plenty of noises about their academy investment all year and the challenge now for Hookem is to keep on impressing and improving, starting in pre-season.
He’s going to be needed next year and the same goes for Marcus Walker, Aiden Burrell, Harvey Baron, Jude Ferreira et al. Hull may not have a choice but to back these lads who can’t be any worse than some of their overpaid senior counterparts, so let’s get behind them.
Manu Ma’u is worth a shoutout too who went well at Wakefield and who has had a great end to the season. It’s a shame others haven’t gone with him.