Hull FC suffered their seventh defeat of the Super League season as Salford ran out 22-28 winners on Thursday night.
Here is Up the Cream’s Five Things column.
1.. Shaul 100
Jamie Shaul’s try brace means he is just the 24th Hull FC player out of 1,160 to reach 100 tries for the club.
It’s a great achievement and going back to where it all started at Wakefield in 2013 to the winner at Wembley in 2016 there have been some absolute belters to get him there.
That’s the thing with Shaul. He is capable of the sensational, things other fullbacks can only dream of, but then he has areas to his game like his passing which are to be desired.
No-one can ever doubt Shaul’s pace and support play though, or his ability to make something out of nothing. He can be great to watch at times and both tries against Salford were very easy on the eye.
2.. Brand of rugby
Excuses always come out after a loss and many will point out the players missing, particularly Marc Sneyd and Albert Kelly, but in reality it doesn’t really matter who takes to the field for Hull these days as the same problems occur. That’s been exemplified with the rampant rotation recently and even with Sneyd and(or) King Kelly in the side, there has been far worse on show this year to what was witnessed against Salford.
In fact, there have been occasions where Hull have had what you would consider their strongest side out on the field yet still looked like they had been instructed by Stevie Wonder and the three blind mice. That’s Hull though, who through clunky attack, negative play and constant mid-table dross manage to suck the life out of players and embed them into their own rancid structures to the point where regardless of whether a, b or c is deployed the same outcomes occur.
That’s emphasised with Jake Connor who had another mixed night against Salford and will undoubtedly get the most pelters after this latest defeat, but think about how many times Sneyd gets the same sort of criticism. There is some talented players amongst this side, but the way Hull are instructed to play is rancid and perhaps that’s a bigger problem than the individual.
3.. Ugly defence
After every defeat there’s a post-mortem on Hull’s attack but defensively are where some of Hull’s biggest problems lay.
There is no confidence in that side to hold out when the opposition gets a roll on. Leaking points is just a formality now and after the first cup winning year where Hull’s foundations were all about what they did without the ball it’s a travesty how bad it’s actually got. It’s all about attitude – there’s no pride there now and it’s just accepted as the new normal.
The way in which Salford came back into the game to take a half time lead, despite being second best in parts was embarrassing yet so predictable, and again in the second half after scoring to concede again so suddenly was equally so. Whether it’s on the edge or goal-line defence Hull are so soft and they cave at the first sight of pressure. There’s no leadership, no toughness about them anymore and it isn’t a surprise these days to see the latest capitulation. God help whoever is left to sort it out next year.
When will Hull players stop thinking they are something they are not and just play to their strengths in their most prominent position? There is the Connor half back/centre debate that without any doubt (in our mind at least) made Albert Kelly’s mind up, then the Mahe Fonua centre stuff with Cam Scott on the wing. Talk about a swan turning into an ugly duckling…
Then again all that comes down to strong coaching/management and that isn’t something we see at Hull these days. The Kelly situation nails that point and the decision to let a good squad player in Kieran Buchanan go whilst keeping others who’s performances are questionable at best only emphasises it more.
Off the field Hull have come in for some stick and rightly so. Letting Liam Watts go proved to be a horrendous call, letting Kelly go is sheer madness, and re-signing Fonua has opened up some questions about who calls the shots and who’s voice should be listened to. It’s about time Hull made a smart footballing decision. They’ve been absent since Motu Tony left the club.
For the second time this season Adam Pearson has come out and voiced his worry about the financial future of the club. That’s despite a hefty member total, an incredible percentage of fans still paying for a product they’re not getting, record commercial partners, the Derby already been played pre-lockdown, a new third shirt, and tv money.
Is it genuinely that serious or is Adam going over the top? We don’t usually get communication when things are going tits up on the field, but the club need to come out and tell us the situation. No bullshit. No spin.
They’ll be bringing out the begging bowl for memberships soon, and with it being obligatory for most of us to renew no matter what the circumstances, some clarity on the future would be nice. Whilst a lack of changes to the playing squad can be forgiven, they’re pissing in the wind if they think they can move into 2021 without a change in the coaching set up.
It’s absolutely imperative and Pearson’s face on the tele suggested he knows it too.