Albert Kelly has only played two halves of rugby league in Hull FC colours, but he’s already captivated the fan base with two encouraging displays.
His second of those, against a well-drilled Toronto outfit, was the more prominent of the two, where Kelly showed signs of a potential gold mine partnership alongside fellow half back Marc Sneyd.
Of course an element of perspective should be given in pre-season, but it’s certainly promising. Hull, with their first choice back line out there, were set on providing expansive distribution with a dangerous offload game.
They had good shape, were crisp and played to the edges. This was exciting and Kelly was at the heart of it.
The 25-year-old Aussie has pace to burn, and therefore a support game. He’s another kicking option on the last tackle and has a varied selection of passes. He’s got the lot and demonstrated all said qualities in just forty minutes.
His try was set up by two brilliant offloads by Mahe Fonua and Carlos Tuimavave, but it still took some finishing. Kelly showed blistering pace, pace that will no doubt see him cross the line on numerous occasions this year.
He then set Fonua’s second try up with a long spiralling pass and continued to create havoc on the right edge. Add the wrecking ball Sika Manu to that and it’s frightening what Hull could be capable of, through either the short or long ball.
From what we’ve seen so far, Kelly is the explosive half back we’ve craved for seasons on end. The challenge now is to replicate that form on a consistent basis. If he does that, Hull FC have one of the best players in Super League.
We all saw his qualities in 2015. Despite some defensive woes he was Hull Kingston Rovers’ best player of that season by a country mile, but for whatever reason it went a little sour in 2016.
Therefore there was, at the time, apprehension to his signing. It was understandable but now he’s letting his displays do the talking, or winding, depending on your allegiance.
What we’re seeing now is a rejuvenated player who just wants to play rugby. I had the pleasure of speaking to Albert Kelly after Sunday’s game, and he told me, “I just want to win matches for Hull FC”. For me, that says it all.