The Final Word #2

I presume you’ve all finally warmed up from last weekend’s inclement weather.

The snow may have been falling faster than Danny McGuire’s stock but the good rugby continued to flow as the loyal band of Airlie Birds were treated to a feast on the field. Hull FC looked in good spirits as they dispatched the Dragons without really ever getting into top gear. The sign of a good team? Let’s hope so.

The Good:

Plenty to go at here. Two things particularly stood out for me. The first is the consistency that courses through this FC outfit right now. The appointment of Danny Houghton as Captain has come at the perfect time. First-team regulars such as Fetuli Talanoa, Albert Kelly and Marc Sneyd returned to the fold with consummate ease. The satisfying feeling as a fan being that there’s so much to come from them and other returning faces.

In turn, youngsters from last year such as Brad Fash, Masi Matongo and Jack Downs have visibly developed into athletes who can mix it in Super League this season. Downs ran an excellent line for his try and I hope he gets a run of games as the season unfolds. While Ross Osborne is going to be an absolute force for Doncaster on loan.

A mention for the new and familiar faces in Bureta Faraimo and Mickey Paea too who bagged a meat pie each. We’ll all miss the athletic exploits of Mahe Fonua but judging on Faraimo’s debut, he has footwork and a neat offload which will fill that cavity. He may even offer a more consistent outlet compared to Fonua, who was prone to the odd Coach Killer. Time will tell. Paea looks like the answer from the bench too. He lifts the team with his physical presence and will soften the blow of Sir Gaz’s retirement last year.

The Bad:

The weather? I can’t say I have too many complaints in terms of the Black & Whites performance. The odd knock-on and occasional misunderstanding can be forgiven at this time of year. While Jake Connor and Faraimo’s edge partnership remains in its infancy, it’s an exciting prospect and one that could terrorise the competition in time. The youngsters are still developing but names like Cameron Scott and Jordan Lane could be the equivalent to Brad Fash and Jansin Turgut last season, over the next few years.

The Ugly:

A largely clean game given the conditions and the opposition. Dirty play and spoiling tactics have become second nature in the Dragons’ limited skill sets over recent seasons. It’s a shame given the club’s early promise over a decade ago. Coach Steve McNamara has a huge task on his hands to avoid a repeat of last season’s Million Pound Game against Leigh. I suspect they’ll be dicing with the likes of the Dobbins and Widnes to avoid the Super League trap door. Recruitment has been distinctly average and you can’t rely on Mad Dog Micky McIllorum if he spends more time suspended than on the field.

Up the Cream Issue 48

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