Hull FC won the Challenge Cup for the fourth time in their history with a 12-10 victory over Warrington at Wembley.
Here are the Five Things Up the Cream learned.
1.. Hull FC can do it on the biggest stage
Boy that was tough. Hull FC were second best for parts of that game because Warrington played well. They were brilliant at times and I was really impressed with Ashton Sims and Daryl Clark. They got stuck in to Hull and made life difficult.
Hull’s attack wasn’t fluent at first and that’s testament to their opposition. Eventually Sneyd’s boot found a way to win, and this was most commendable – given the way Wire tried to restrict his influence with late hits.
That final was brutal. Hull were under the cosh but found a way to win – something they’ve exhibited all year. Defensively both sides were brilliant, contacts were fierce, and if you can’t appreciate that, and would rather see a turnstile 36-30 result, then maybe rugby league really isn’t for you.
2.. Sneyd the game changer
Houghton was my pick, but I won’t begrudge – despite the incoming pie in face – Marc Sneyd as the Lance Todd winner as Man of the Match. He was incredible out there.
His kicking game is the best in Super League and in my opinion is only rivalled by NRL star Johnathon Thurston. The soccer skills of Sneyd are apparent and he can drop a ball on six pence. His brilliant 40/20 changed the game and Hull kicked on from there.
Two kicks to the corner set up both of Hull’s tries. His first, collected by Fonua, and then again, before Sneyd assisted Shaul for the winning try. Then there’s his two conversions as well, the difference between the two sides. Sneyd has had a brilliant season, and even with just over 50 appearances for the club, has put himself in Hull FC legend status.
3.. Fonua is virtually unplayable
He made a few mistakes, but I’ll take that as Mahe is a high risk player. He makes things happen and is a threat pretty much every time he touches the ball.
Fonua’s final contribution was massive. He scored an excellent try himself, before contributing to the second try with another insane leap.
When the Melbourne-born centre is on song there’s no stopping him. Frightening that he’s just 23-years-old.
4.. Josh Bowden found new heights in incredible season
Josh Bowden has been one of Hull FC’s top performers this season, and was so again at Wembley. He was incredible. His leg drives were insane and some of hits thunderous.
The Hull-born prop has played to that level for large parts of the season, and along with Chris Green, not to mention a ferocious starting middle of Liam Watts and Scott Taylor, is a major reason why Hull FC sit top of the Super League table with a major trophy already in the cabinet.
5.. Houghton set himself in legend status with unthinkable Challenge Cup display
Danny Houghton was legendary at Wembley. His performance was the best of the lot and that tackle at the end of the game on Ben Currie will be forever remembered – it won Hull the cup.
It came in the 78th minute too, a time where fatigue would have well and truly set in. It was just a sheer piece of individual brilliance. Houghton made over 50 tackles too and still had the attacking influence to kick and scoot Hull FC to victory.
Pure legend status. Immortality. Hull fans will be crying out for a statue soon – something HDM reporter Paul Clarke texted me last night. Great shout.