Hull FC put in a poor display as Catalans defeated them 6-37 at the KCOM Stadium on Friday night.
Here are the Five Things Up the Cream learned.
1.. Kieran Buchanan impresses on debut
There were few positives from Hull FC’s performance against Catalans, but one of those was the debut of young outside back Kieran Buchahan. The 21-year-old did little wrong, carrying the ball strongly and looking a threat in the air.
Fielding Buchanan is obviously a reflection on Hull’s injury crisis this year, but still he took his chance on the wing and was one of the sides better performers.
It’s just reward for impressing in the Reserves, and a testament that Radford is prepared to back his youth, and not dip into the loan market like others.
2.. The inconsistency is worrying, but tells you something
In the past four games alone we’ve seen both the best and worst of Hull FC. Two very good performances have come over Rovers and Wakefield, whilst two poor defeats have come against St Helens and Catalans.
Whilst that points out a worrying inconsistent nature of the side, there’s also a pattern developing here. When Hull have certain players missing or out of position, there’s holes in the side. Unfortunately they can’t be filled up by second string personnel and that ultimately will see some departures at the end of the year.
What’s concerning is the best to worst of the displays. When Hull are good they are very good, but when they are bad, they are horrifically bad. Hull don’t just lose – they get hammered. The last three defeats have seen blow out scores against Warrington, Saints and Le Dracs. It’s not good enough, and is very frustrating given promising performance elsewhere. There’s literally no in-between right now.
3.. Paea finding some form
The fanzine was very critical of Mickey Paea last season, and sometimes probably harshly so, but he’s been much better this season and deserves some credit for that.
He was obviously given the last rights by Radford after that Reserve game against Wakefield, as his displays have got better and better since then. The famous leg drive is now back, and he’s tackling well too, comfortably getting through 20 minutes as a starting prop. It’s what we expected when we re-signed him, and after dishing out the criticism, it’s only fair to single him out for praise when warranted. Right now he definitely warrants it. Well done Mickey.
4.. The injury front is damaging our season
So the grapevine tells us that Albert Kelly could have played if push to shove, and that Marc Sneyd has a problem with cartilage in his other knee, whilst others think there was nowt wrong with either and we were just resting players. Someone’s talking a load of bollocks then but conspiracy theories aside, Hull FC still had 17 players missing for the French side and whilst only half of them would make a difference, and whilst it doesn’t excuse a lacklustre display conceding 37 points, it does count for something.
When fully fit Hull are a bloody good side and are more than capable of finishing third in Super League. Therefore the injury front is disrupting our season. You can dismiss that all you like and just slag Hull off like a set of miserable sods but the matter is when the strongest side is out there you’ll see a big difference. That’s a fact.
We will concede though that the squad doesn’t have enough quality to deal with such an injury list – but then again who does, St Helens aside? Whilst the defeat is frustrating, the inconsistent nature of other sides means the play-off race is still wide open. If not for a shit points difference we’d still be third. Not catastrophic then….
5.. Challenge Cup up next
The Challenge Cup has brought the best out of Lee Radford’s Hull FC, with two wins at Wembley in 2016 and 2017. It’s a knockout competition with no second chances, meaning the Airlie Birds have to turn up against Castleford next week.
It’s as Black and White as you can get, and with players returning there is no excuses. Hull have shown they can respond from a setback and against a Tigers team that can’t buy a win at the moment, there’s a perfect chance to do that.
The mentality too is different to Super League, and after a gruelling Easter period, maybe that’s exactly what we need? Hopefully they’ll be a good crowd and a good win to celebrate at the end of it.
Meat Pies & Shots – Online Rugby League Show