Hull FC beat L**ds 26-24 to earn their first win at Headingley in twelve years.
Here are the Five Things Up the Cream learned.
1.. Finally a win at Headingley
It’s been a long twelve years, but Hull FC finally have a win at Headingley, the home of L**ds Whinos, the club which are just one place above the noisy neighbours on the voodoo doll ladder.
It wasn’t the greatest of performances by any stretch of the imagination. Hull had to dig deep and come from behind after seemingly having a comfortable lead. That was frustrating and as far as the norm goes at this place it was nothing new. A familiar feeling, but then Ratu popped up and Sneyd did the rest. Victory. Scenes.
It’s about bloody time too, but it felt good and given Hull’s recent run here is nothing short of rancid, to topple the most menacing of demons should give the side more belief going into the final few weeks of the season. Hull need to be better, but right now who cares. That’s a massive win.
2.. The man for the big occasion
Marc Sneyd always steps up when Hull FC need him the most. He’s won more Super League points for the Airlie Birds this year than Wigan players have drink driving offences, and at Headingley his kicking was crucial in earning another victory.
Sneyd landed five from five from the tee, including a pressure conversion at 24-24, assisted one try for Bureta Faraimo, got Hull the ball back from the kick off which gave his side the field position to win it, and kicked majestically throughout.
Chasing club records, that last kick was as high pressure as it gets, but Sneyd thrives under such an scenario, slotting his attempt through the middle of the posts. Lovely stuff.
3.. Going out with a bang
Sika Manu has received a bit of stick recently. His body is battered and he looks like he struggles to walk after a game, but he finds energy out of nowhere and still even now produces the goods.
Make no mistake about it, Manu, who is likely to retire at the end of the year, has been one of Hull’s best ever imports. A Wembley immortal, he’s been sublime for our club, and is still capable of that prominence. His try at Headingley proved that. Manu looked threatening on the right edge throughout his time on the field, and his twenty metre dash to the line showcased his power. A great effort. The misters still got it.
The same sentiment can be given to Mark Minichiello. He will retire at the end of the year, and like Manu, bow out with the same accolades.
4.. Following Hull FC is never short on drama
This side rarely do things the easy way, and so it proved again against the Whinos. Hull had to dig half way to China to win back to back Challenge Cups, and you’d imagine similar efforts will be needed if we’re going to win anything this year.
Seven months ago talk of Hull and trophies were non-existent, and whilst it’s still a tough ask, we’re just one win away from another major final and are comfortably sat in third place in Super League, all whilst being more bipolar than a werewolf off his meds with our Jekyll and Hyde displays.
2019 has been sheer utter madness but despite going from the sublime to the inadequate, it could still end in ecstasy. Regardless of what happens though, Hull with more sublime displays than not have exceeded expectation. That deserves some credit. What happens next though is a mystery.
5.. Cup fever didn’t distract League form
Hull served up two of the worst performances of this year before cup games against Castleford and Catalans, but here their focus was on winning at L**ds. With a semi-final looming, it’s easy to get distracted, but Hull did enough to get the job done. That’s huge in context of the season.
Whilst the Cup has brought with it some of the best moments in Hull’s entire history over the past few years, it’s been at the detriment to the league. Hull should have won the lot in 2016 but the euphoria of Wembley took its toll. Right now the Airlie Birds are giving themselves the best possible chance of making a dent in the play-offs – by finishing third you get two bites at the cherry, and that, along with the two points at Headingley, is absolutely vital.