Seven defeats from the last eight games have seen Hull FC’s play-off challenge fall by the wayside.
What started out as a season of promise descended into another of disappointment and Hull in eighth spot are getting exactly what they deserve.
And whilst we’d love to point the finger at injuries, covid outbreaks, and fixture postponements, ultimately it’s the squad limitations that have been their undoing.
Those limitations have been evident to see in recent matches, and were best exemplified in the Derby – a game Hull actually won.
The difference that day was Hull’s spine, particularly Jake Connor and Josh Reynolds, and without all those parts together, Hull are a shadow of their former self.
Recent results don’t lie and Reynolds’ injury effectively killed off Hull’s season. The seven and nine are limited now, and the Aussie’s absence has been felt, with Connor now performing in flashes in a beaten side.
To an extent that highlights the current mismanagement, the fact that Hull are so heavily reliant on one or two players. Then again take a Nathan Cleary out of Penrith and they haven’t got a cat-in-hells chance of winning the NRL Premiership.
Still we know this is an unbalanced squad at Hull. And we know that’s the case because sentiment is the preferred option when making contract decisions here.
As we say, Hull will get exactly what they deserve, and the table doesn’t lie.
They’ve got to rediscover that ruthless trait, but then there’s the further realisation that the majority of the limitations can’t be addressed until the end of 2022.
Strewth, mate. It’s a long road ahead.
So, with nothing but pride to play for to finish 2021, Wigan now await, and after also underwhelming for parts of this season, they need a win themselves to secure fourth spot and get some form going into the play-offs
Wigan are weird. Their attack has been non-existent at times but they have a knack of winning rugby league matches. They are tough and they’ll be a tall order for Hull, who can’t afford to go into the winter months on the back of nine defeats in ten. Don’t under-estimate pride – it should always be a sufficient enough motivator.
The season is done, but Hull have got to pull something out the bag and get back to what they were doing so well earlier in the season.
It was the intensity that got us, and everything Hull did early on was full of fight, grit and energy.
We want to see that energy in Hull’s defence again. Some of Leeds’ tries at Magic were embarrassing and they have got to toughen up.
Defence was Hull’s biggest praise a few months ago, it highlighted the desire and hunger within them and their attitudes were impeccable, yet right now and despite an attack that’s also woeful, it’s their biggest criticism.
Hull’s soft under-belly has been exposed again, and they look weak when not so long ago they were hard as nails.
They’ve got to get the mental components right and then, and only then, we can start to talk about winning.
Hull are missing Josh Griffin (Achilles), Josh Reynolds (knee), Scott Taylor (ribs), Danny Houghton (wrist), Joe Cator (knee), Jack Brown (shoulder), and Adam Swift (foot) to injury.
Wigan are without Bevan French, Jai Field, Thomas Leuluai, and Tony Clubb. Willie Isa is suspended.
Hull: 1. Jake Connor, 2. Bureta Faraimo, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 5. Mahe Fonua, 7. Marc Sneyd, 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, 22. Josh Bowden, 23. Connor Wynne, 24. Cameron Scott, 26. Jude Ferreira, 27. Mitieli Vulikijapani, 29. Jamie Shaul, 31. Aidan Burrell, 33. Jacob Hookem.
Wigan: 3. Zak Hardaker, 4. Oliver Gildart, 5. Liam Marshall, 8. Brad Singleton, 9. Sam Powell, 10. Joe Bullock, 12. Liam Farrell, 13. John Bateman, 14. Oliver Partington, 15. Morgan Smithies, 19. Liam Byrne, 20. Harry Smith, 21. Ethan Havard, 22. Jake Bibby, 23. Mitch Clark, 25. Joe Shorrocks, 27. Kai Pearce-Paul, 28. Sam Halsall, 30. Umyla Hanley, 31. Jackson Hastings, 34. Brad O’Neill.
Last Five Meetings
2021: Hull 20 Wigan 10 (at Headingley)
2021: Wigan 16 Hull 14
2020: Wigan 29 Hull 2
2020: Hull 4 Wigan 36 (at Salford)
2020: Wigan 26 Hull 12
Super League Head to Head
Played 59 – Hull wins 12 – Wigan wins 45 – Draws 2
Another frustrating day beckons, Wigan by four.