Hull FC put in another flat, hopeless and dumb display, losing 44-12 to Castleford on Thursday night.
Here is Up the Cream’s Five Thing’s column.
1.. Bottle jobs
Castleford away was do or die to an extent. Victory would have secured a place in the top five, and defeat would drop Hull down to sixth. It was an opportunity to see how much bottle this side has got, and the result is telling.
As we’ve seen throughout the year, Hull got out-energised and out-enthused, and a heavy defeat followed. Despite all the recent dross though, Hull still had an opportunity to be as high as second in Super League. Two home games were blown against Salford and then to Huddersfield, and now this defeat with the sides play-off place riding on it.
Opportunity after opportunity has been offered, which says a lot about the quality of Super League, but Hull have bottled them, rolled over and accepted defeat. Given the talent at the club it makes it all the more frustrating – it’s literally been right there for the taking.
2.. No smarts
Hull completed at around 50% at Castleford. That’s not good enough and you’re never going to win a rugby league match when possession is coughed up so frequently.
We talk about being out-energised and out-enthused and that undoubtedly is the case right now, but the lack of rugby smarts proper hold Hull back. The side are self destructible at times and contribute to their own downfall. Stupid errors add to fatigue, and when a daft offload doesn’t come off and your forwards are continuously turning around and blowing, then your defence isn’t going to be bang on.
The side are going through the motions. There’s no variation to the play and despite tedious high kicks to the corner and that bloody short ball from Sneyd that brings errors, nothing changes. Wake up, Hull.
3.. Dire defence
Hull sides historically have prided themselves on their defence, especially previous Radford sides who have all been about keeping that line intact. That defensive desire though has rarely been seen in 2019.
This season we’ve seen loses of 12-63, 16-62, 6-37, 2-55, 12-40, 22-44 and now 12-44. That’s a total of 345 points from just seven games alone. In total Hull have conceded 746 points, only London have conceded more. Horrendous reading and it really highlights the defensive issues.
Whether that is wingers jamming in like fools or the middles been cut open, defensively Hull have been poor this year. It coincides with the previous point too. Hull put themselves under unnecessary pressure and don’t have the desire to defend their mistakes. That cycle has been constant throughout the year.
4.. Up the Chicken Satae
One thing you can take out of the defeat to Castleford was the display of Tevita Satae. The big prop is one of seven new acquisitions for 2020, and we’ve seen glimpses already of what he’ll offer to the side next season. He played about 30-35 minutes on his third Hull appearance, was strong with the ball and got held up once.
Satae is a tackle buster and potentially an offload machine. He’ll reignite some hunger into the squad, along with Mahe Fonua, Manu Ma’u etc, and that gives Hull something to build on ahead of next year.
The recruitment drive we’ve seen for next season should have been for this season, but what’s done is done. The seven blokes coming in will add to what the side already has, and Satae could be a big part of that.
5.. Wake me up when September ends
Hull FC’s form in September under Lee Radford doesn’t make for great reading. Of twenty games played in the final regular season / start of play-offs month, Hull have won just four of their matches, losing sixteen times.
Of course there’s factors to consider here, two of those campaigns were emotionally draining as Hull failed to recover from their Wembley heroics, whilst three of those campaigns, 2014, 2015 and 2018 ended with the side having nothing but pride to play for. This year is probably the most frustrating of them all, with the incentive being a potential second placed finish in Super League. Ultimately Hull have bottled that, and now the play-offs are all but over. It’s been a disastrous ending to the year, which in truth all capitulated after the cup defeat to Warrington.
What does that say about this side? Is the Cup the only thing within their capability? Have they not got the form and fitness to perform to the seasons end? In 2016 Hull bottled the best chance they’ve ever had of winning a Grand Final, looking jaded and out of sorts. That’s the same finish as this year, except there’s no post-cup final ecstasy to blame this time.