Dig out the cliches. Hull FC got back to winning ways with a 31-24 victory over Widnes.
Here are the Five Things Up the Cream learned.
1.. Connor needs to be in the middle
How the hell Hull FC and Lee Radford are going to get their heads around that statement one can only wonder. When fit Albert Kelly and Marc Sneyd are your half back pairing, but there’s an ever-increasing realisation that Jake Connor playing in the middle of the park equals things happening.
At centre he produces moments of sheer quality, but compared to the halves they are too few and far between. This was apparent in the win over Widnes, where a move to stand-off saw the Snake win Hull the game.
You get the feeling Connor needs to play where he can have the most involvement, and we’re not suggesting for a second that he’s a waste at centre, where again he can cause mayhem to the opposition, just that in the halves he runs the show, and the quality tells. What a conundrum to have.
2.. Poor in parts but job done
Hull FC built up a comfortable enough 16-0 lead but let it slip through complacency and general poor play. That was disappointing. What should have been a routine victory turned into a nervy affair and that wasn’t good enough.
One positive from it though is that Hull found a way to win and from that closed it out. Although going for a penalty goal and running down the clock following a neat Faraimo try set up by Kelly against a side that hasn’t won in twelve games does tell you a lot. Improvement needed for when we face Huddersfield on Thursday then, but fair play to Widnes who gave it a crack.
To view Hull FC’s 2018 stats, click here
3.. Who’s running over the black cats?
Whilst Hull had enough quality on the field to get the two points, there’s no getting away from the current injury list and what that must do to the group mentality.
We’ve done it tough this season and every time a player returns it’s compounded with the loss of another. Hull welcomed back Hadley and Manu but Hadley got injured again and Shaul’s foot problem persisted. Manu also took a knock but played on.
The fact we are still in a position to challenge with the hand we’ve been dealt with is commendable. Once can only hope we’re not more than four points maximum behind the top four come the start of the Super 8s, where players will be back and our push can really start.
4.. Taylor proves Denver myth a farce
The moaning and groaning coming from sections of the NRL competition over the Denver Test was embarrassing. There has been little complication, thanks to business class flights, presumable hostess service and good old sports science.
Scott Taylor proved that with his performance against Widnes. He was solid for England against New Zealand last time out and was Hull FC’s best forward here too. Jake Connor meanwhile was the best player on the pitch.
So much for fatigue related effects then. For the record Martin Taupau, who played for the Kiwis in Colorado, was absolutely superb for Manly as they beat Penrith on Saturday morning, whilst Dallin Watene-Zeleziank, despite being on the losing side, continued his good form. Moral of the story? Stop moaning about change and embrace Rugby League spreading its wings.
5.. Harris unlucky to be taken off
Liam Harris was taken off at half time despite showing signs of promise in the first half. It was tactical related and was done to get Jake Connor involved more. That’s no detriment to Harris either. We’re talking about an England quality half back and the decision worked.
Harris though scored an excellent try from the scrum as he dummied his way over and he looked to organise. He showed once again he can be relied upon at this level and a fifth appearance already for Hull FC shows the trust placed in him. Hopefully there’s more to come before Marc Sneyd’s return.