Hull FC annihilated current Challenge Cup holders Catalans on Thursday night, putting 51 points past the French side.
Here are Five Things Up the Cream learned.
1.. Jeykll and Hyde
Hull FC’s performance levels week by week are a complete utter contrast. Four days prior at Anfield, the Black and Whites were hopelessly bad, but here at home in a winner takes all situation, they were bang at it.
Those knock out situations have brought the best out of Lee Radford’s Hull FC, and so it proved again. They went from performing as a bunch of arthritic cardboard cut outs to a team running about like a set of maniacs. It’s amazing what a little bit of desire does. Hull ran with intent knocking Catalans back time and time again and in defence they scrambled to keep them out.
The difference in display is clearly a mental thing. Preparation isn’t a problem, but there’s something about the sides mentality when they get out onto the field. How else do you explain the contrast between results? It’s madness, but if it works and ends in silverware we won’t complain. Currently fourth in the league and within eighty minutes of Wembley, you could argue that Hull have already exceeded expectations, but for now we’ll enjoy that one and look forward to another Challenge Cup semi-final.
2.. Sniper Sneyd
He’s been there and done that, but it’s nice to retaliate just how good Hull FC’s number seven is sometimes. He’s a baller isn’t he, who controls games better than most, delivering kick after kick to suck the life out of his opposition.
Marc Sneyd is the most important player at the club. Against Catalans he ran the show, delivering nine goals and a one pointer for a total of 19 points, but it was other areas of his game that also stood out.
Sneyd attacked the line and the pop pass for Houghton’s try was superb – talk about awareness and being calm and composed. He’s the man for the big occasion with the mercurial left boot and we wouldn’t swap him for anyone.
It seems Hull FC must have an incentive to perform of late, which is perplexing given that there’s over a dozen players out of contract at the end of the year, but despite logistics, there’s a clear gulf in the sides best and worst right now.
As for the team the incentive was the knockout nature of the fixture. There was no second chances. That brings the best out of Hull, but the challenge now is to be a bit more consistent in the league. With returns for both Josh Bowden and Andre Savelio, rant should help.
4.. Hull FC’s spine is top notch
That was the first time in 2019 that Hull FC have fielded a spine of Shaul, Connor, Kelly, Sneyd, Houghton and Westerman, and it’s absolutely not a coincidence points came at a premium with them all in the side together, especially our number nine who was badly missed last week.
We’ve singled out Sneyd already, but there’s different types of players there that can also adapt their games to different situations – all of those names contributed to points on the night.
Hull have the luxury of some genuine attacking talent and that’s why they are always a danger to the opposition. UTC plays the injury card as our run of bad luck has been ridiculous, but if we can keep those six in particular on the field more than not, then good things will happen.
5.. Ratu, Ratu, Ratu
Never mind what Ben from East Hull thinks, Ratu Naulago is a find and a half and if possible, must be signed up for 2020 and beyond.
The Fijian flyer is a crowd favourite already, he has bags of pace, he’s safe under the high bomb and he works hard. His performance against Catalans was superb.
Ratu is a humble bloke too that is still residing at the Army barracks in Leconfield. It’s a great story and he fully deserves his plaudits. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that his future will lie with rugby league at Hull FC.