It was far from a perfect team performance by City of Hull Academy at Bishop Burton College on Thursday night, but Hull FC ring-fenced duo Bobby Downs and Lochlan Fitzgerald did impress.
Childhood chums and big Black and White fans still to this day, the duo at times were excellent in their sides 42-4 win over Newcastle.
Errors dominated the game in parts, which was played in appalling windy conditions at the East Yorkshire venue. Completion rates from both sides were poor, especially for City of Hull, who know their capability is of a level much higher than that.
As mentioned though there were positives. Fitzgerald was superb from full back. He’s still small by nature but he still puts his body on the line when required. Over the last season his defensive qualities have improved substantially.
He’s safe under the high bomb and is beginning to tackle well. It was his attacking dimensions though that impressed last night. He took his tries excellently, showing great support play for both.
What I like about Lochlan is his passion. He never shuts up and is so enthusiastic. He’s a down to earth kid and knows there’s still a long road ahead, but with the reserves format at Hull FC, there’s a pathway for him.
Elsewhere Bobby Downs, young brother of Jack, was terrific. Tenacious is the best word to describe him. He loves to get stuck in and for a half back this is good to see.
He’s a running half, and he tormented Newcastle all night. With all due respect there will be tougher opposition than the North East outfit for City of Hull this season, but Bobby did himself no harm with a fine display. His kick for Harry Hutchinson’s try was nothing short of excellent.
Hull FC centre Kieran Buchanan also managed a brace of tries and took them well. He impressed me last season, and this year for him at least is certainly intriguing. The same can be said of Niall Sidney, who also managed two tries on the night.
For Rovers, prop forward Ben Butler was outstanding again. The amount of work he gets himself through is ridiculous and tipping the scales at over 100kg, his physical presence was known.
Ben will play for Hull KR Reserves on Monday night, and he fully deserves the opportunity. I hope he takes it.
All on all it was good to start off with a win, but against a development club like Newcastle, there were still far too many errors on show.
City of Hull: 1. Lochaln, Fitzgerald, 2. Niall Sidney, 3. Kieran Buchanan, 4. Harry Hutchinson, 5. Elliot Wallis, 6. Bobby Downs, 7. Harry Whittles, 8. Ben Butler, 9. Jordan Webster, 10. Jack Brown, 11. Owen Harrison, 12. Adam Rooks, 13. Tom Burke. Bench: 14. Harrison Morrow, 15. Rob Branton, 16. Harry Bardle, 17. Max Riseham.
City of Hull Tries: Sidney 2, Fitzgerald 2, Buchanan 2, Hutchinson, Wallis. Goals: 5/8.