Hull FC made it two wins a row with a professional 28-8 victory at Huddersfield on Sunday afternoon.
Here are the Five Things Up the Cream learned.
1.. A play-off contender?
This is the first time Hull FC have reached a play-off spot this season, and whilst we’re just four games in with a heck of a lot of rugby still to be played, it’s still something to highlight.
Nobody outside of Hull has given this side a cat-in-hell’s chance of finishing inside the top five, but this squad when at full tilt has the capability to do just that.
Lee Radford clearly has the backing of this squad, talk of him being given the chop was nothing short of ludicrous and was mainly driven by outsiders who quite frankly haven’t got a clue. It’s still a bloody good squad too. We all know the pack isn’t as good as in 2016 but other areas of it are better. We’ve got some outstanding players that will produce moments of genuine quality. A side containing all of Jamie Shaul, Jake Connor, Albert Kelly, Marc Sneyd, Danny Houghton and Joe Westerman will be a match for anyone – that’s a scenario we’re still yet to see this year.
Keep writing us off. We’re happy going under the radar.
2.. Westerman is a class act
It’s mental when you think about it now, but the announcement of Joe Westerman’s re-signing at Hull FC last year was met with a meltdown – not on the level of a bottle throwing meltdown but not far behind. There’s a lot of people with egg on their face, but don’t worry, we’ve all been there.
Joe Westerman is an old school loose forward who plays both tough and with guile. He’s got everything to his game and his impact since arriving back at the club where he feels at home has been incredible – at Huddersfield he was comfortably the best player on the pitch.
He’s got four tries in three games this year, but his work-rate, ability, yardage, and passing have all been instrumental. When Liam Watts left the club, it was imperative Hull got themselves a ball-playing forward. It’s ironic how they went and got Watts’ best mate to fill the void.
3.. Sneyd shows his value
Sneyd has been labelled a one trick pony for the majority of his career, but when that one trick assists tries time and time again, who cares?
The half back soldiered on despite a stinger to the knee, producing a sublime banana kick for Josh Griffin to put the icing on the cake. Not that was his only highlight in a superb display.
Grinding the game down in wet weather conditions, Sneyd controlled things at Huddersfield. Radford once labelled him Hull FC’s ‘on field’ captain and the way he bossed his team-mates around the field showed why he has that acclaim.
When the side are on top, he steers us around the park majestically.
4.. Connor injury
Jake Connor left the field at half time with a nasty looking knee injury, and the club have confirmed that he will go for scans on Monday. It didn’t look good – Connor was down for several minutes getting treatment. He returned heavily strapped but couldn’t continue.
With Jamie Shaul already out having failed his head test it put Hull under a testing situation, but luckily they prevailed. It’s definitely becoming tiresome though that every welcome return is met with a fresh injury.
They’ll be a nervous wait now as we await news on the severity.
5.. Adapting to adversity
Losing your most skilful player at half time is a tough situation, and coming out for the second half knowing that he won’t be able to continue is a bitter blow. Therefore, the way Hull handled themselves in that 40-50 minute spell was excellent. They scored two tries and put daylight between themselves and the opposition. That effectively won the game. From then on confidence grew and further points were posted on the board.
It’s weird that such adversity generally brings the best out of Hull FC. We saw it in the two Challenge Cup wins – we never did it the easy way. At Huddersfield those traits were required, and whilst it wasn’t the best side we’ll face this year, the job was done. That is worthy of some credit.