Whether known as Stilts, Superman, or Sir Richard Whiting, Hull FC’s unofficial Man of Steel was certainly knighted by the fans in his twelve year stay with the Black and Whites.
A crowd favourite, Whiting captivated all before him with his intelligent displays, and that right there is probably the best compliment you can pay him. Intelligence on a rugby league field is a significant thing, and Rich had plenty of it.
He popped up in all the right places and knew how to penetrate the defensive line. He had a gift. It’s no fluke that Whiting found himself on the end of an interception time and time again. He reads the game so well and always anticipated what was coming.
That made him such an elusive rugby player. His game smarts largely contributed to him becoming one of the most popular players to ever play for Hull FC. That’s exactly what Rich was to the Faithful, who idolised him throughout his career.
Unthinkably during his twelve years at the KCOM Stadium, Whiting played every single position on the field, from the wing, to stand off to a stint at prop.
For years he tried to shake off the ultility tag, but during seasons were Hull had unprecedented injury crisis’, his ability to play across the park was invaluable, and for me, was best examplified in a Challenge Cup semi-final win over Warrington back in 2013.
After a cruel hamstring injury to then fullback Shannon McDonnell, Rich stepped into the number one role superbly, crossing for a splendidly worked try, and produced further heroics as Hull saw off Wire 16-12 to book a passage to Wembley.
Just two years earlier he spent the majority of the 2011 on the right wing, and for a man that lacked pace throughout his career, scored an infamous length of the field try at Wakefield for one of his most prominent, and most talked about, moments in a Hull FC shirt.
If ever a career could highlight a mans versality, then Whiting’s was that. He finished in the back row just a few years after his wing spell, following a richly deserved testimonial.
He was never under-appreciated and rarely had a bad game. His consistency, given the fact he was always changing position, was remarkable, and showed his sheer class.
He was a Challenge Cup winner with Hull FC, scoring one of the four famous tries as Hull defeated Leeds in Cardiff back in 2005, before playing a key part in the run in to thirteen consecutive victories and a first Grand Final appearance the year after.
In his first year at Hull FC, way back in 2004, Whiting was Super League’s Young Player of the Year and throughout his career with the Airlie Birds, certainly nurtured that young potential.
He triumphed through two serious injuries in 2008 which would have crumbled lesser players, and returned, all be it with a lot of forearm strapping, a lot stronger.
As Whiting’s age grew older, so did his maturity. He played 253 times for Hull FC, crossing for 76 tries, and is considered by many fans as the one of the best players of the modern era.