Albeit much improved, an increase in performance level wasn’t enough for Hull FC to end their now eight game losing streak, as Castleford eased to a 28-8 win at the KCOM Stadium.
Here are the Five Things Up the Cream learned.
1.. We got a response
After a humiliating 80-10 defeat at Warrington last Thursday night, the Hull FC players, coach, chairmen and supporters all needed a response. With a win against the high-flying Globetrotters always unlikely, the result wasn’t necessary the main priority either, but a performance was. The display was okay. There was effort, and after what happened in Cheshire that’s a huge positive.
Hull gave it a go, and given they’ve got a large proportion of their salary cap sat in the stands, it’s commendable, but it is the absolute minimum expectation. What happened against the Timberwolves was absolutely disgusting, and this was an improvement. There was some desire shown and that was pleasing.
We all know Hull are down to their bare bones, as injuries continue to strike, but despite all the sicknotes and that, there is no excuse for leaking the totals endured at Wakefield and Warrington. Regardless of missing personal, or a lack of finesse, poor attitude, blah blah blah, a Hull FC side, and especially a Hull FC side under Lee Radford, should never lose by those margins. So on that note, something to build on, at least.
2.. The curious case of Hakim Miloudi
Hakim Miloudi is a maverick. He’s the sort of player that gets bums on seats. He’s got character and he’s exciting. That was his first appearance in the Hull FC line up in nearly two months and his performance suggested he’d never been away. He was all class, deployed at stand-off, and asked questions of Castleford all night.
Miloudi is a crowd favourite and there was some confusion to why he was even left out of the side. Allegedly it was down to off field behaviour, which saw him demoted to Doncaster as Hull slugged it out in the Super 8s. But the team has been crying out for a bit of x-factor, and the French sort has that. He showed pace for his try and his energy and enthusiasm rubs off on the team. He’s a madhouse, and if he keeps himself in check, there’s a promising future for him at Hull FC.
3.. Litten sparks team
Hull FC were pretty ineffective in attack for a large proportion of the Castleford game, but then Jez Litten came on. Almost imminently upon Litten’s arrival, Liam Harris went off injured, meaning Hull spelled Danny Houghton at scrum half with Danny Washbrook at loose. It worked.
Admittedly Castleford had already won the game, but Litten provided a spark from dummy half. He was quicker out the blocks and Hull fed off it. The 20-year-old is explosive and has a massive future in the game. Some young players at Hull haven’t lived up to their potential, but Litten doesn’t look like being added to that category. He was impressive again and should get three further appearances now in 2018 to show what he can do.
4.. When your luck is out, it’s out
Castleford scored two fortunate tries in the first half. Given a different outcome, that could have seen a different game unfold. Firstly Mike McMeeken got a lucky deflection go his way to ground a Jake Trueman kick, and then the ball found Greg Eden for a breakaway try after bouncing off Michael Shenton’s head.
At the other end Hull had some opportunities to post some points on the board but errors prevented such an occurrence. Swings and roundabouts. It must be said that Castleford coasted, and they were clearly streets ahead of a depleted Hull side, but it does endorse the fact that when you’re struggling, next to nothing goes your way.
5.. The grim reaper
Adam Pearson stated Hull FC will be having their very own yard sale this winter, with some players set for a departure. It will be interesting to see what actually transpires in the coming months, and whether or not those words will be backed up with actions.
Some of those players that could be in danger of falling victim to that yard sale, actually did their reputations no harm. It was a much better display than the one seen in recent weeks, but the damage is probably already done. If Hull want to return to the top four next season, then there is no room for sentiment, but there’s also a realisation that when at full tilt and firing this side is a completely different kettle of fish.
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