Hull FC got themselves a magnificent Super League win, defeating Warrington 19-12 on Saturday afternoon.
Here are the Five Things Up the Cream learned.
1.. Sneyd is the best in the comp
Yep. The best game managing half back in Super League. Soak it up.
For years Hull FC craved someone who could lead the side around the field and Sneyd does that majestically. He’s a leader of men. He’s magnificent. That left boot is mercurial and does all his talking, but his vocals and stint as captain were brilliant. He fought for the Hull FC cause all game, whilst steering us to victory with both running and defensive contributions.
That was all the more impressive given Hull were clearly rattled in the second half and lost Jake Connor to the sin bin. Things could have boiled over but Sneyd kept us in check. There’s no-one we’d swap him for. A special player chasing club records.
2.. Thick skinned youngsters
Hull FC got the book thrown at them during the 13-game losing streak, and some criticism came from us too, especially after what happened at Warrington last time out, but that experience has clearly had a positive effect.
The likes of Matongo, Fash, Lane, Litten and Buchanan have the skin of a rhino now. Obviously some of those names didn’t feature on Saturday but the point remains. They don’t let us down now.
Matongo is solid defensively, whereas Fash went okay too. On the wing Buchanan didn’t get fazed after an early error led to a Warrington try. That’s the best example you can give. He backed his own ability and was sound for the rest of the game in a situation that could have broke lesser players.
You can only applaud that. Tough times clearly make tough players.
3.. Shaul return
Jamie Shaul finally returned from a concussion injury at Warrington and his influence on the side was apparent from the word go.
No wonder Radders was buzzing to get his teachers pet back out there. Shaul is class. Forget his brilliant running game, and instead think about what he does defensively. He’s safe under the high bomb, his positional play is good too, but the marshalling of his defence was top draw.
It’s the fullbacks responsibility to get that defence organised, getting the numbers right either side of the ruck is so important and there’s fewer better at that than our kid Jamie Shaul.
It’s absolutely no coincidence that Hull FC’s defence was bang on with Shaul back in side. A very welcome return.
4.. Washbrook stepping in
Many Hull FC fans would have been guilty of fearing the worst when that line up was announced pre-match. Hull already had a few key players out and then lost Houghton, Manu and Faraimo during the team run. Injury talk is tedious to some but wow it highlights just how good that win at Warrington was.
It meant Danny Washbrook had to do a job at hooker and didn’t he do it well. Hull were at their most composed when Washbrook was at nine. It was a steady but effective performance from the old timer, who played his part for sure and helped to get Hull on top in that first half.
A few voices also asked why Jez Litten didn’t play. The young man has just come back from injury and has recently had a family bereavement. Thoughts are with you Jez and hope to see you back on the field soon.
5.. Hull FC are still a bloody good team
Our fifth placed prediction looks a little premature now, as Hull FC are without doubt a play-off team. When they’re good they’re very good but of course consistency has been a problem and when we’re bad we’re bad. There’s been no in-between during the past couple of months.
What we saw at Warrington though suggests Hull are still a top team that are very capable of making an assault on the Super League competition. Question marks were placed on the forward pack prior to the seasons kick off and were extended after one such defeat against Wakefield, but we’ve learned from that. In both wins at Warrington and Catalans, Hull shifted the ball and avoided a slugfest down the middle.
We still have some quality in the pack with Tag, Paea and co, we have our own marquee players in Sneyd, Kelly, Connor, we have an absolute find in Ratu Naulago, and we are evolving as a team, wearing oppositions out and leaving the likes of Ben Tikka-Masila out on the edge with as much use as a chocolate teapot. Boy that win was satisfying.