Preview: Hull FC vs Castleford

Just four days on from the Derby win, Hull FC face another massive game in the race for the Super League play-offs.

Castleford, who have quietly gone about their business in recent weeks winning their last three, know a win would leapfrog them above the Black and Whites, with a win for Hull helping to cement their place inside the top six. The stakes are huge and it’s another potential make or break fixture. No pressure then.

With just the five games remaining, there is no room for another blip, and Hull, who will be without Josh Reynolds and Joe Cator, just have to get on with it. The four defeats prior to the Derby could still prove costly, yet a win opens the door for a crack at Wigan too, and if results go Hull’s way elsewhere, fourth is still a possibility, yet lose and so is eighth. There’s a broad outlook at the minute.

But Hull should be confident going into Thursday’s game. The Derby win was a belter of a fixture too and Hull should be boosted by the fact that they found ways to win despite having minimal opportunities to score. They were ruthless when they got key ball during crucial periods of the game.

Obviously a huge part of that execution being nailed was the return of Jake Connor, who just picked up from where he left off despite being absent for the last five games.

That’s Connor in a nutshell. Naturally gifted, so influential, and who makes the game look easy. He is box office, and any play-off hopes rest on his shoulders. Hull are a much different beast with him in the side.

Connor’s presence also helped Marc Sneyd too who was able to play his natural game at first receiver, and Danny Houghton looked much more comfortable too, yet there is a selection or two to make given Reynolds’ injury, with Ben McNamara seeming the most sensible choice.

Moving Jake the Snake from fullback is nothing short of madness, and in having Jamie Shaul on the bench, who returned well last week, there is the option to change things too, or bring him on at dummy half again.

Cator’s injury will ensure Jordan Lane gets the loose forward nod, with Taylor likely to play off the bench again with Chris Satae back to start alongside Ligi Sao.

It’s worth noting that the only game Hull lost this season with their three big middles was against Wigan, the game in which Taylor injured his foot.

That’s intriguing both with and without the ball, although one would hope that Hull will cut out the unforced errors to go with their outstanding defence seen in the Derby. If they do that the big fellas are there to get a roll on in attack and set a precedent in defence.

In the Derby, Hull did enough without being great, and you could argue they’ll have to raise their standards even further to beat a plucky opposition in Castleford.

Complacency won’t come in. Hull’s attitude has been outstanding this season, as is the effort and energy they have put into virtually every game.

As long as they remain smart, tidy up with the ball a bit, and control the ruck, then they should definitely fancy their chances. Come on you ‘Ull.

Team News

Hull will be without Josh Reynolds and Joe Cator for the rest of the season having both picked up injuries in the Derby win. Reynolds has done a medial in his knee and Cator has ruptured his Achilles.

Josh Griffin (Achilles) and Masimbaashe Matongo (knee) remain unavailable.

Castleford are without Michael Shenton, Sosaia Feki, and Jake Trueman.

Squads

Hull: 1. Jake Connor, 2. Bureta Faraimo, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 5. Mahe Fonua, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 10. Chris Satae, 11. Andre Savelio, 12. Manu Ma’u, 13. Ligi Sao, 14. Jordan Johnstone, 16. Jordan Lane, 17. Brad Fash, 19. Ben McNamara, 20. Jack Brown, 21. Adam Swift, 22. Josh Bowden, 23. Connor Wynne, 24. Cameron Scott, 29. Jamie Shaul.

Castleford: 1. Niall Evalds, 2. Derrell Olpherts, 3. Peter Mata’utai, 7. Danny Richardson, 8. Liam Watts, 9. Paul McShane, 10. Grant Millington, 11. Oliver Holmes, 12. Cheyse Blair, 13. Adam Milner, 14. Nathan Massey, 15. George Griffin, 17. Alex Foster, 19. Tyla Hepi, 21. Jesse Sene-Lefao, 22. Daniel Smith, 23. Greg Eden, 24. Suaia Matagi, 25. Jordan Turner, 31. Gareth O’Brien, 33. Jason Qareqare.

Super League Head to Head

Played 51 – Hull wins 27 – Castleford wins 21 – Draws 3

Last Five Meetings

2021: Castleford 12 Hull 30

2020: Hull 48 Castleford 6

2020: Castleford 28 Hull 32

2020: Hull 29 Castleford 16 (at St Helens)

2019: Castleford 44 Hull 12

Prediction

Hull by eight points.

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About Dan Tomlinson 1748 Articles
Editor of Up the Cream. Once upon a time I looked like my profile pic.

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