The run of Hull FC defeats stretched to double figures as Catalans took a 26-20 win in the final home game of the season.
Slightly more upbeat than the match report; here are the Five Things Up the Cream learned.
1.. Jake Connor’s form
Let’s start with a positive – what a return to form by Jake Connor. Two weeks ago when we broke the story he’ll be back, some fans were quick to say it’s pointless and we shouldn’t rush him. Well they were wrong.
Connor showed great progress with his hamstring injury and obviously wouldn’t have took to the field without the approval of Lee Radford, Paul Hatton and himself.
Against Catalans he was superb. Possessing all the qualities to be a creative half back he put two tries on a plate for Fash and Talanoa and was a constant nuisance all evening.
Connor doesn’t realise how good he is. He’s right up there with the most talented in Super League, and given the robots deployed in our competition, it won’t be long before the unorthodox maverick is considered the best – go on laugh, he’s that good. Hull will do well to keep him beyond his current contract.
2.. Tag summed up why he’s POTY
Scott Taylor received the coaches Player of the Year award last Tuesday night and you can’t argue against it. It was a spilt between Tag and Connor with the latter boasting both the Fans and Players Player awards.
Taylor was superb against Catalans. As usual he played long minutes and made them count. He showed desire in defence and a decent leg drive with the ball. It’s a shame England have so many props of a top standard or he’d be a shoe in every test – a place in the squad though should not elude him. Our vice captain has been sensational throughout 2018.
3.. Plan B
When Jez Litten came on Radford again opted to move Houghton into a ball playing middle role, as we saw against Castleford, and as Litten integrates himself to Super League one would suspect it’s something we’ll see again in the future.
It works too. Jez, despite one of two hiccups in the Catalans game, has showed enough potential to suggest there’s a big future here, and Houghton has looked better playing as a middle than at hooker in recent weeks, where by his freakishly impressive standards, he’s had a frustrating and inconsistent season.
There’s been a vacancy for a ball player in the forwards and whilst Houghton won’t be making any tackle busting hit ups, it’s at least something Hull can throw out the armoury if they want to try something different in attack.
4.. Lack of concentration
Jamie Shaul’s team try to give Hull a 20-16 lead was a superb one, but that lead lasted around the time it took Josh Griffin and Gareth O’Brien to relegate Rovers two years ago.
Our defence was wide open. We took our foot off the gas and our concentration was poor. Similar to last weeks second half at St Helens, it was all too easy for the opposition, and with bad reads and a lack of defensive punch, it’s easy to see why it continues to happen.
He wasn’t the only one, for instance Miloudi kept jerking in, but Shaul’s two misses on Gigot and Edwards led directly to Catalans tries. They were costly and unfortunately for the fullback, who to his credit never throws in the towel and gives his all for his club, were the most memorable moments.
5.. Current situation
This Hull FC team should never be in a position where it is enduring a ten game losing run, never mind the number of injuries it has succumb to.
Injuries have been talked about all season, they are part of the reasoning, but we can’t hide behind them as a sole reason to our failures.
Hull, who showed average form before the injury crisis, threw the towel in after the Derby loss at the end of July and that’s nothing short of disgraceful. It’s seen us suffer a record defeat and a record run of defeats, which are damaging to the clubs and players’ reputation, but also to next seasons membership sales too. If the hierarchy think all fans will renew based on what we’ve witnessed over the past two months then they’re been spending too much time with Ralph Rimmer, who insists everything is fine with rugby league in the UK.
This run could have long-term consequences on the field too. Mentality it must have an effect, and that was demonstrated in losing a lead so quickly on Saturday. We’re literally waiting for the season to end. Lets just hope the squad remember how to play in 2019.