Preview: Bradford vs Hull FC

Winter is here, but at least Hull FC are back, of sorts, with the young’uns getting their opportunity to impress at Bradford.

The first of two friendlies in West Yorkshire, this one is all about the clubs youth, with a more senior squad set to face Leeds in a fortnights time.

Investment

Alongside their Academy, Hull have been very vocal about their College, Centre of Excellence, and Rising Star programmes, with Davy Litten, cousin of former Hull larker Jez, the first player to come through them and earn a full-time first team contract.

Litten has penned a three-year deal, and like many youngsters around his age, he seems to be thriving at the club.

It’s investment for the long-term future, and added to the coaching arrivals of Michael Shenton and just this week Pete Riding from Warrington, not to mention a thriving centre in West Cumbria amongst others, it will put Hull in good stead.

That’s not to say there’s not highly regarded young players already on the books, many of which will get a chance to shine at Odsal.

Players like Nick Staveley, Charlie Severs, and Callum Rutland will join those who made their first team debuts last year, the likes of Marcus Walker, Aidan Burrell et al. In fact, all but two of the squad to play at Bradford have come through a Hull system.

Amongst what will be the usual ‘blowing off the cobwebs’ pre-season outing, it’s an opportunity for these young players to impress, to stand out, and make a name for themselves. There’s nothing quite like a first impression.

Seniors

Alongside the youthful squad, there is some experience heading to Bradford, with Ligi Sao, Brad Fash, Jordan Johnstone, and Jamie Shaul set to feature. Cameron Scott is also named.

Sao is currently the only ‘big four’ prop fit to play, with Kane Evans’ suspension carrying over from the NRL, and pre-season injuries falling to Chris Satae and Scott Taylor. Josh Bowden has also picked up a knock.

As always then, they’ll be a responsibility on Sao to lead from the front, but arguably the bloke who will play more minutes is Fash, who will captain Hull for the first time.

With over 100 appearances for the club, Fash is still not everyone’s cup of tea, but one thing you can never doubt is his effort and enthusiasm. He gives everything no matter what the occasion, and he will set a fine example to those looking to turn a head or two.

Elsewhere, Shaul will feature after a cameo return from an ACL injury last season. He’s been tipped to play on the wing, despite a preference to play fullback, something that just won’t happen whilst Jake Connor is fit and in form. Still, and like everyone else, it’s a chance to lay down an early marker.

More on the injury front

It’s not ideal when it’s pre-season and we’re talking about injuries, but Hull’s wounded souls by all accounts are responding well to their rehab.

Amongst Hull’s injured props, Josh Reynolds is back in training with his knee “further ahead than planned” with Josh Griffin and Darnell McIntosh also ticking some boxes.

Joe Cator, Connor Wynne, and Jack Brown also had operations in the off-season and are battling hard to get back fit.

Return to Odsal

Hull haven’t played at Odsal since Bradford’s relegation from Super League in 2014, with the only trips to the ‘Wembley of the North’ coming for Academy and Reserve fixtures.

Since then, Bradford have become even more of a basket case, with the only sniff of a Super League return coming in 2015 when losing the Million Pound Game, a concept that always brings a chuckle or two, to Wakefield.

They’ve had problems with their ground, which has seen better days, not to mention a dwindling support base since mastering Bullmania, fireworks, and pyrotechnics at the turn of the millennium.

They’re also dual registration partner to Hull in 2022, and are coached by former Challenge Cup winner John Kear.

Danny Brough Testimonial

Retiring in 2021 given medical advice, Sunday is Danny Brough’s official testimonial match.

Turning out for Hull in 2005, the scrum half was a key part of the kicking masterclass in the Cardiff final against Leeds – the one where Richard Swain was robbed of the Lance Todd trophy. Still bitter.

Meanwhile, Brough managed all four conversions that day and also kicked the field goal that ultimately proved the difference between the two sides.

He left Hull for Castleford midway through 2006, having made 43 appearances for the club.

Squads

Bradford: Sam Arundel, Jordan Baldwinson, Lewis Camden, Steve Crossley, Matty Dawson-Jones, Thomas Doyle, Ben Evans, Rhys Evans, Dan Fleming, David Foggin-Johnston, Ryan Forshaw, Kieran Gill, Elliot Hall, Billy Jowitt, Elliot Kear, Aaron Murphy, Coby Nichol, Dec Patton, Sam Scott, Ebon Scurr, Anthony Walker, AJ Wallace.

Hull FC: Ligi Sao, Brad Fash, Jordan Johnstone, Cameron Scott, Marcus Walker, Aidan Burrell, Jamie Shaul, Alex Gibson, Mackenzie Harman, Zach Jebson, Davy Litten, Lewis Martin, Kieran Masike, Sam Richards, Callum Rutland, Charlie Severs, Nick Staveley, Leon Stewart, Manoa Wacokecoke.

Club Connections

Matty Dawson-Jones plies his trade for Bradford these days, having scored one try for Hull in his one and only appearance. Prolific.

Cameron Scott is a former Bradford Academy player, but who has been developed at Hull since signing with the club five years ago, aged 17.

Fixture

Pre-Season Friendly, Bradford vs Hull FC, Sunday, 3pm

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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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