Hull FC kickstarted their pre-season campaign with a 72-12 thrashing of Doncaster on Sunday afternoon.
Here are the Five Things Up the Cream learned.
1.. Fortune for the new boys
Hull FC’s recruitment has been well-documented this off-season but on what we saw in their first outing, and despite the ‘only Doncaster’ cliches we’ll get thrown at us, the new boys did okay.
Danny Langtree got given a start in the second row and was solid all afternoon. He ran a great line off a well-timed Danny Washbrook pass to score his try and his workload was good. There’s an anticipation now to see how he handles Super League opposition, but he didn’t do that bad last time he met one. The words Oldham and Challenge Cup come to mind.
Levy Nzoungou came off the bench and provided a sturdy leg drive. He’s a big lad and takes some stopping, as exemplified when sliding over for his second half try. Credit must go to Masimbaashe Matongo there who returned the ball like a stream train, assisting his fellow African-born prop for a splendid score.
Least but not last Charlie Graham got himself a hat-trick of tries after coming off the bench. His third was the pick of the bunch, as the young winger collected a kick to score. Not a bad debut.
Fellow new signings Matty Dawson-Jones and Jordan Thompson didn’t feature. They may well end up playing at Wakefield next week.
2.. Trialists show potential
It’s not a Hull FC pre-season without a trialist and we had two to watch at Doncaster. The mystery winger who was first noticed on Mickey Paea’s Instagram, Ratu Naulago, certainly impressed the watching crowd. The former rugby union sevens winger has got some speed on him and after shaking off a big hit early on, raced away for his try, initially showing some power to break a tackle. Elsewhere Jordan Cox got a stint in both the back row and middle and did his best to impress. He did little wrong and was always available to take the ball up.
3.. West Hull kids on fire
Jordan Lane and Jez Litten have been brought up following Hull FC for years. They entered the Academy when Mark O’Meley’s son Nick was playing for the Black and Whites and they haven’t looked back since. Both, despite struggles from other parts of the side, finished last season strongly and both were outstanding at Doncaster. Out of all Hull FC’s young players, these are the two in the fanzines humble opinion who have shown the most promise. Lane seems to go to from strength to strength and can play in the back row or through the middle whereas Litten is becoming more direct and explosive from the ruck, whilst learning to distribute to a high standard too.
You can present an argument that any aspiring Super League player should be standing out against League One opposition and the young duo did just that. Right now they’re doing everything asked of them.
4.. Wynne excites at fullback
There was a younger contingent of players from the City of Hull Academy who lined up at Doncaster. One of those was Connor Wynne and from what we saw there’s an exciting future here. The teenage fullback was a threat that Doncaster couldn’t comprehend with. He looked dangerous when linking into the line and scored a fine try too. As far as debuts go, that was a good one. We’ll watch his progress in the reserves with interest.
5.. Tougher challenges obviously await
Despite all the tongue in cheek Old Trafford references we all know it’s a case of one step at a time with Hull FC right now. After eleven defeats to round off last season it was just nice to win again. Yes it was a League One club and tougher fixtures await but as the cliche goes you can only beat what’s in front of you. Hull FC did that and they did it playing some entertaining and eye-catching rugby league. More of the same please, starting at Wakefield next week.