Hull FC edged past Huddersfield 18-16 thanks to a late Marc Sneyd penalty goal on Tuesday evening.
Here’s Up the Cream’s Five Things column.
1.. The Iceman
Marc Sneyd made his 150th Hull FC appearance against Huddersfield – the same opposition for his debut back in February 2015 – more than five and a half years ago.
He’s done his fair share during that time. He became the first Hull player to win back to back Lance Todd Trophies, he’s got the club record for drop-goals, and is chasing Joe Oliver for both goals and points.
Whether through that left boot or sleight of hand, he continues to produce big moments in a Hull FC shirt. From that peach of a forty-twenty that swung the first Wembley winning final Hull’s way, to that first Golden Point winner at Wigan, to those four kicks at Catalans, he’s the man for big occasion that wins matches for his side. He does it time and time again.
The winning penalty goal on Tuesday night was not on the same scale as some of his previous endeavours, but it’s another match winning moment to add to the collection.
2.. Back Row Griffin
Jordan Lane has took some well-earned plaudits since the Super League restart but in his absence Josh Griffin has filled in adequately in the back row. He was brilliant on Tuesday.
Combining well with Sneyd (who’s much more than a kicker), Griffin ran some great lines to take the short ball and he ate up the metres. He would have scored a deserved try too if Ligi Sao got through Huddersfield’s defensive line and prevented an obstruction.
Whilst Griffin is still one of the best centres in the competition, playing in the back row looked natural to him. Together with Sneyd the left edge was a threat; Griffin seemed to get the ball in better areas, and not just coming out of yardage with Fonua and Faraimo’s tries both coming off his work.
Fair play to him. After sweeping up the club awards last year there’s been no taking the foot of the gas. He’s been right up there again.
3.. Clunky attack
Despite praises for two individuals, Hull as a team struggled to post points against Huddersfield. They had all the ball, and all the favourable field position, but they struggled to execute plays and create opportunities to score.
Hull actually played pretty conservatively at times which was disappointing given the field position and dominance of the first half in particular. It felt like a wasted opportunity, especially given just a six point half time lead and two point winning margin. There is no question that it should have been more.
The attack was clunky at best. Yardage was brilliant, but there doesn’t seem to be any direction when the side get near the opposition line. Yet again Hull have relied on individual brilliance rather than a set in stone structure to score, with two freak plays from Griffin seeing the side home.
4.. Jamie Shaul
Another game, another boat load of criticism for Hull FC’s fullback Jamie Shaul. Sure, it’s naïve to put everything on his shoulders as some of Hull’s shape and structure is poor to say the least, but a lot of Hull’s plays fizzled out when Shaul came into the line and it’s nothing new.
In broken field he is outstanding, in fact he has games like Leeds and Wakefield away where he’s nothing short of brilliant, but he isn’t a pivot and we all know that, yet many still expect him to be one. How about this then… Why haven’t the coaching staff found a solution to this problem? Why do Hull, with a fullback more suited to other areas of his game, insist on playing the same way as everyone else?
However, the other side of the coin is that you put Jake Connor at fullback and he produces more try assists in two games than Shaul has all season. There is a reason every team plays the same way, it works, some teams just execute better than others. Hull with Connor at one execute better. That’s a fact.
It’s something for Hull to really think about. Fullback is such a specialist position these days and whilst everyone plays off the same play book, you won’t win a Grand Final with one that can’t create a try scoring opportunity.
5.. Corona bollocks
Presuming we’ve all seen the pictures from the London Palladium this week? Indoor events packed to the rafters yet rugby league fans can’t go in OUTDOOR stadiums.
Then again, and as pointed out by Adrian Durham of TalkSport, the London Palladium is owned by Andrew Lloyd Webber, a Tory supporting multi millionaire who said he’d leave the country if Labour got in. Figures.
We’ve all had enough of this bollocks now. You know the virus that knows the time, when you’re sat down, and attacks you if you dare enter a pub or other drinking establishment.
How long before clubs go under? How are clubs meant to sell memberships for 2021 with no return date for fans in grounds? How are clubs and the governing body meant to re-negotiate the most important Sky deal since Rupert Murdoch put Super League on the box back in 1996?
Enough is enough. Non-league football is showing the way here. It’s about time this government let others follow suit whilst there’s still something to go back to.