One quote from Hull FC coach Lee Radford was pretty noticeable after the latest defeat to St Helens – “The transfer thing has gone Championship Manager at the minute. There isn’t a lot out there and Superman is not going to come in and fix it up for us.”
Forget the transfer bit and at least Radford has one thing right. It would take more than Superman to sort this mess out. Maybe he could bring Batman in and dip into Marvel and get Spiderman as well. That would help.
Enduring a record sequence of Super League defeats, a poor second half saw Hull FC suffer their ninth consecutive loss, going down 38-12 to the now winners of the hotly anticipated piece of silverware, otherwise known as the dog dish. Puns aside, full credit must go to St Helens who have led the comp from pretty much the first go and deserve the League Leaders Shield. They have been the pace setters, but that means bugger all if they don’t turn it on next month, and avoid what could be a Grand Final defeat to their in-form, bigger, and more successful rivals, Wigan.
They didn’t have to do much here to earn another two points though. Hull showed glimpses of promise, but then ruined it with some horrendous edge defence. The superfans will jump at you as soon as you mention it, but luckily for the pessimist Radford was in agreement. Hull’s defence at times was woeful. Defensively the Black and Whites were bad, at times really soft and there’s some big culprits to pinpoint there. Not exactly sure what it is with our wingers, but none can defend and cut inside more times than Katie Price hands out blowjobs.
Bureta Faraimo was the worst for it, with young winger Regan Grace getting the better of him twice. If that wasn’t bad enough, winger Faraimo got absolutely gassed by PROP FORWARD Luke Thompson in the second half. It’s given that Thompson has come on leaps and bounds and is being hailed in this part of the world as the next James Graham, but it’s a telling and very concerning factor that our winger doesn’t possess the speed to even keep up with him. There really is no substitute for pace, but Hull would rather have size. Standard.
You can sympathise with Faraimo slightly and point out his number of centre partners used in 2018, which probably exceeds the amount of hours Adam Pearson spends at the club each week. Many will also point out his stats and say he makes less errors than Mahe Fonua, which show you how bullshit stats can be. Fonua was voted the fourth best player in Super League last year and swapping him for Faraimo is like to stop shafting Michelle Keegan to have a pop on Laura Plummer, as expertly put by one UTC seller/contributer on Friday night. The fact is he needs to learn sharpish to stay on his wing, and trust whatever centre partner he has. Presently Faraimo is like a wandering lost puppy. Of course a lack of continuity doesn’t help, and wingers are easy to pinpoint in a struggling team that loses every week, but you’d expect more from a quota player.
Elsewhere Hull mixed it up by putting Cameron Scott in the right centre position this week, with Josh Griffin on the left, and it’s fair to say the former struggled against the best three-quarter in the competition, Mark Percival, who one would hope will get an England spot in the upcoming tests series against New Zealand. Percival was class, but Saints didn’t even get out of first gear. Ben Barba went through the motions and the hype around young half back Danny Richardson is perplexing.
Back to our own borders, Jake Connor showed one or two moments of class with neatly timed passes, and ruffled a few feathers forcing an error or two in defence. Connor originally only lasted seven minutes after dislocating his thumb, but returned to the field soon after and looked like creating something every time he touched the ball. Sika Manu went off with what looks like a bad knee injury in the first half and no confirmation has been given yet to the severity of it. But Hull battled on – the minimum expectation of effort was there, and young props Masimbaashe Matongo and Brad Fash got stuck in, with Jordan Lane also looking eager, running some terrific lines. Hull instantly improved when young hooker Jez Litten came onto the field. Jez gave Hull some shape and the early signs in attack are really promising. In the first half the Black and Whites were actually credible, showing some balls and a will to work, but a collapse in the second half was really frustrating.
Before that a first Super League try for both Lane and Fash got them off the nudie run and Hull level, but Thompson’s sucker punch before half time was tough to take and in typical Saints fashion they then ran away with it. The defensive efforts in the second half just weren’t good enough and you can pinpoint several players for that. Faraimo wasn’t on his own. Liam Harris had another nightmare without the ball and Danny Washbrook couldn’t tackle a cold. Saints peppered that side of the field and got their reward. It was far too easy and it’s like Hull have got accustomed to losing, which is probably not far off the mark after nine straight defeats and without a win in nearly three months.
You can pinpoint injuries there but those injuries don’t excuse those defensive errors. However it doesn’t excuse the fact injuries have derailed our season, best summed up pre-match where Hull get the return of Connor and then lose Jamie Shaul, Carlos Tuimavave and Danny Houghton to injury. It’s been a nightmare at times with the current treatment total exceeding double figures again.
Thankfully there’s just those two games to go. The season ends with a trip to Wigan but there’s a real chance to get a win over a Catalans team that are likely still spending their free time in the pub following their historic and quite brilliant Wembley win. As far as confidence goes and building morale into pre-season and beyond, it’s fair to say that Hull must win next week. No-one wants an eleven game losing streak playing on your mind over the winter months, regardless of your stance on injuries etc. Write this one off, and congrats to Saints, but we’ve got to win on Saturday week.
Saints Starting XIII: 23. Ben Barba, 2. Tommy Makinson, 30. Matthew Costello, 4. Mark Percival, 19. Regan Grace, 1. Jonny Lomax, 18. Danny Richardson, 10. Kyle Amor, 15. Morgan Knowles, 16. Luke Thompson, 24. James Bentley, 21. Jack Ashworth, 12. Jon Wilkin. Interchange: 14. Luke Douglas, 20. Matty Lees, 22. Jake Spedding, 31. Jack Welsby.
Saints Tries: Percival 2, Knowles, Thompson, Grace 2. Goals: Richardson 7/7.
Hull Starting XIII: 28. Hakim Miloudi, 2. Bureta Faraimo, 30. Cameron Scott, 4. Josh Griffin, 5. Fetuli Talanoa, 14. Jake Connor, 35. Liam Harris, 8. Scott Taylor, 17. Danny Washbrook, 29. Masimbaashe Matongo, 26. Jordan Lane, 11. Dean Hadley, 21. Sika Manu. Interchange: 36. Lewis Bienek. 20. Brad Fash, 22. Jez Litten, 16. Jordan Abdull.
Hull Tries: Lane, Fash. Goals: Faraimo 1/1, Connor 1/1.
Hull 3-2-1 Man of the Match: 3pts Jake Connor, 2pts Jez Litten, 1pt Jordan Lane.
Scoring System: 6-0, 12-0, 12-6, 12-12, 18-12, 20-12, 26-12, 32-12, 38-12.
Referee: Chris Kendall
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