Preparation for 2022 gets underway on Monday as Hull FC return to pre-season training.
The club have been wheeling and dealing for weeks now as players have been signed up and in a handful of cases moved on.
It’s a start, but there’s still a way to go and after another underwhelming year that began with promise but ended in disappointment, it’s important that expectation is managed.
Still, despite form being a mixed bag and displays almost sending us to sleep, there is quality at Brett Hodgson’s disposal and going into his second season as Hull FC boss, it’ll be interesting to see how he nurtures it.
Those retained for 2022
Jake Connor – With the ball Jake is nothing short of sensational but the challenge now is to become the complete fullback. That starts with the hills at Brantingham.
Connor Wynne – Impressed every time he took to the field. Great on his feet and has speed to burn. Exciting to see how Hodgson will use him.
Jamie Shaul – Spent the majority of the season recovering from an ACL injury and now faces a battle to get his number one jersey back. A big battle.
Adam Swift – Hodgson opted for pace over power on the wing and it certainly worked. Swift had a superb year. Challenge now is to stay injury free and kick on.
Mitieli Vulikijapani – Raw and it showed at times, but overall he did okay in the half a dozen games he got. Likely to feature more in 2022.
Harvey Barron – Over 6 foot tall, rapid as anything, and still a teenager. Hopefully he’ll make his debut next year.
Darnell McIntosh – Ruptured his Achilles ironically playing against Hull but he’s still an exciting signing. His attitude throughout his rehab seems to have been positive and he’s exactly the type of winger Hodgson wants. Speed to burn. Yes then.
Carlos Tuimavave – Consistently brilliant and oozes class, but if he could add one more thing to his armoury it would be tries. That’s a collective thing as a team though.
Josh Griffin – The powerful centre was up there amongst Hull’s best before he suffered a season ending Achilles injury. He’ll be back with a bang.
Cameron Scott – Took a lot of unjustified criticism (especially early on) but he did improve as the year endured. That trend most continue.
Jude Ferreira – Will spend the year on loan at London.
Marcus Walker – Utility back who made his debut away at Catalans.
Davy Litten – The cousin of former Hull hooker Jez Litten, Davy rose through the clubs college ranks to first team training in just 15-months. Impressive.
Josh Reynolds – Hull’s record without Reynolds is absolutely shocking and they won far more games with him in the side. If Hull are going to be a threat, then they need all the dynamics of their spine on the pitch together.
Ben McNamara – Found it tough at times but it’s easy to forget he’s still a teenager. The Reserves will help him and he deserves time. The key here is patience.
Jacob Hookem – Played the final game of the season at Wakefield and was just about the only positive on a terrible night.
Luke Gale – Shock addition after the shock departure of Marc Sneyd to Salford. Arrives on a one year deal and brings something different to the side. Hull needed change, we were screaming for it, and the club have delivered. Whether its the right change, time will tell.
Scott Taylor – After two injury hit years, the Beverley lad needs a massive season and it starts this winter.
Chris Satae – The big prop was nothing short of outstanding all year. Could be even better with Kane Evans and a fit again Taylor to go with him.
Brad Fash – Deserved his new deal and he also deserves some respite. Shouldn’t have as much responsibility next year which is a good thing.
Jack Brown – Shame his season ended with a shoulder injury as he’s got bags of potential. Still young and got plenty of time.
Josh Bowden – Hasn’t been the same since his ACL injury and has got to offer more. Staying fit is a start.
Aidan Burrell – The teenager got two minutes of action in the rag-tag win over Huddersfield. He’ll never forget them either. One to watch in the Reserves.
Kane Evans – Massive bloke with personality, aggression, and some interesting vocabulary wrote onto his wrist strapping. He’s exactly what Hull need and at well over 100 NRL games, he’s got plenty of experience too.
Danny Houghton – Hopefully spelling Houghton with new signing Joe Lovodua can bring the best out of him.
Jordan Johnstone – Effort is never in question and that’s appreciated but he’s got to offer more quality when he’s on the pitch.
Joe Lovodua – Fijian hooker signed from South Sydney having never played an NRL game. Only 23-years-old and it’ll be interesting to see how he fits in. Can’t play down the importance of getting the hooking spot right.
Andre Savelio – Was superb in the first half of the season but he let himself down in the second. Was great to see him get continuity in appearance, now it’s about continuity in performance.
Manu Ma’u – Contrary to those alongside him, the Tongan Terminator got better and better as last season went on. Scenes if that continues next year.
Ligi Sao – A fan of Ligi and both his go-forward and footwork are superb, but he can improve the other side of his game, starting with discipline. He’s not on his own there like.
Joe Cator – Another who’s season was cruelly ended with injury. He’ll be playing catch up once his rehab is completed.
Jordan Lane – A superb year from the Lane Train who excelled at both loose man and back row. He’s a good young player who’s only going to get better.
Nick Staveley – Teenage loose forward promoted to train with the first team this winter. Lured away from Warrington, a lot is expected of him and it’ll be interesting to see how he develops with more quality around him.
Charlie Severs – One of the youngest members of the squad having just turned 18, the back rower has rose through the clubs ranks and is regarded as a strong running back row. The Reserves will be his playground in 2022.
Zach Jebson – Only 17 years old but another with promise having come to the club from rugby union.
What Hull still need
When Hull were linked with Nathan Peats it was like Christmas had come early, yet the club have opted for a different (and presumably cheaper) direction bringing in Lovodua. He’s got to seriously challenge Houghton for the nine spot, having an impact there week in week out. No pressure then.
Another prop would be nice, and a back row too, should there be viable options.
Owner Adam Pearson promised changes, and changes have been made, whilst others can count themselves fortunate by still being under contract. On that front, this is last chance saloon for a number of players, with sentiment hopefully a word now abolished from the Hull dictionary.
Snippets of scary packs have already come out and it won’t be long before we hear the annual top four bollocks, but all we want from Hull in 2022 is to be honest.
The first half of 2021 was built on graft with moments of quality and right up until the end of June the results took care of themselves.
Some things were out of their control, but what happened in the final few months wasn’t good enough nor acceptable.
Redemption is the word and Hull must be a more fitter and entertaining outfit, channelling their energy into being that same team throughout the whole year.
For now a top six finish is both a realistic and satisfactory target.