Dad bod advocates Halifax proved too much for Hull FC on Sunday afternoon, with the home side running out 18-10 winners.
So yeah. Five Things. Here we go.
1.. Andre Savelio
The most important thing on Sunday was the sixty or so minutes Andre Savelio played. The forward had a rancid first year at Hull with persistent injury problems but he showed up well at Halifax.
Played in both the back row and middle positions, Savelio ran some great lines and was always a threat. That quality is no secret. Savelio is pure quality. We saw it at St Helens. We saw it at Warrington.
Just imagine Savelio in that Hull team with all the stars around him. There’s probably some auditions ongoing there in training and in the matches to come to who will fill what place, but that was a good first hit out. He just needs a clean bill of health now and some continuity in appearances. He’s due some luck.
2.. Mixed feelings
Whilst there were positives with the first pre-season game, there was also the usual stale air when it comes to a friendly. The game was physical, it had a bit of biff too, but it was also flat from a Hull perspective. Halifax were better in attack. Their shape was better. Their structure was better. That experience told. It was a young Hull team and they were second best, showing little quality with the ball.
Of course defensively there was a lot to be pleased about. Hull deserve credit for digging in and especially for their goal line defence, but a lot of that pressure was self inflicted. There was too much cheap turnover in the tackle and one man stuff. Obviously it’s only a friendly and there’s no reason to be concerned, it was a young Hull side out there after all and minutes are what really matter, but it wasn’t great. Some of those young players impressed and others didn’t.
3.. The winger conundrum
Hull have some serious competition in the back line this season and two of those wingers got the first opportunity to make a claim at Halifax. Matty Dawson-Jones made his comeback from an ACL injury and did little wrong, but with all due respect, he isn’t likely to be pushing for a starting spot at Headingley. Ratu Naulago is. We all know what Ratu is about, where he came from, and what he did last season. He’ll be first choice in the eyes of many. He was solid here baring one unnceccsary kamakazi offload that didn’t come off.
Naulago will be competing with Mahe Fonua, Bureta Faraimo and Adam Swift for a spot at dirty Leeds. Yep. Two of those will be missing out every week. Madness. Right now we’d go with Naulago and Fonua, but we haven’t seen Swift play yet, and don’t rule out Faraimo. Also depends on if Fonua will be playing wing or centre. If so what do you do with Carlos Tuimavave, Josh Griffin and Jake Connor? A new can of worms. Will Connor play six? Don’t even go there. You’d imagine pre-season will have a say in this, and who impresses in the remaining friendlies could sway Lee Radford’s thinking.
4.. Up the Armed Forces
Hull handed out a debut to another armed forces player, this time from the navy in Eldon Myers. He’s a centre on trial with the club right now and that was an accomplished first appearance. He was strong and made one decent break and offload in the first half. He’s got a few more weeks to shine yet as well. Of course there’s a risk of premature statements here, but who knows Myers could be the next miracle signing that Radford pulls off. Our head coach has form for it.
5.. Hooking dilemmas
Joe Cator started in the hooker position at Halifax before being replaced by Jordan Johnstone, the only natural other than Danny Houghton to the role. Houghton has a wrist injury right now and is a doubt for the opener at Leeds. That leaves a vacancy. Whoever will fill that role is a mystery. In fact pretty much every spot baring Jamie Shaul at fullback and Marc Sneyd at half back is a mystery. There wasn’t too much to go at here either. It was all about defence. London next week just answer some questions.