Hull FC rounded off pre-season with a 24-10 win over Catalans.
Here are the Five Things Up the Cream learned.
1.. Faraimo an instant hit
Mahe Fonua had a superb two years at Hull FC and his replacement was always going to have some big boots to fill. But on the evidence we saw here, new signing Bureta Faraimo looks a more than adequate deputy.
The Kiwi-American Island hopping sort scored a great first half try and carried the ball well in awful conditions. Well that’s an understatement. He sent the Frogs backwards in the collision time and time again and had a handy offload in his game too.
Bureta, a name I can actually pronounce, will be a big hit in the Super League competition. He’s a big lad and will steamroll, in true Mahe fashion, a lot of teams this year. Can’t wait.
2.. Welcome back Mickey
It’s like he’s never been away. What a return from Mickey Paea, the best player on the pitch for me, despite the exploits of the new boy. That leg drive is a monstrous beauty.
We all know what Mickey is capable of after two stellar seasons at the Black and Whites. He looks just as every bit as lean and powerful as he was in his first stint at the club, and he’ll pack a punch in Super League this year.
It’s only a friendly after all, but the fact that the two best players on the pitch, and after the speculation on how Hull were going to cope without Ellis and Fonua, were Paea and Faraimo, speaks volumes.
3.. Ball movement impressive in rancid conditions
It wasn’t quite a North American blizzard, but it’s not every day you play under a snow storm, so fair play to the two sides who provided some entertainment in torrid playing conditions.
Heavy snow fell down throughout the match, and to their credit the Hull side moved the ball really well – with some nutters wearing just shorts and t-shirt overlooking proceedjngs in the East Stand.
Sneyd and Kelly linked superbly and provided a platform to their three quarters – and Abdull, who started the game in the loose forward position, offered another point of distribution. You can take what you want out of pre-season, but that aspect of Hull’s attack was really encouraging.
4.. Youngsters shine again
They came out with a lot of credit last week, and they will earn their plaudits again after another impressive outing.
Hull’s youngsters held their own, though it must be said alongside a much more experienced FC team, against a strong Catalans unit. Fair play to them. The development in the likes of Masimbaashe Matongo and Ross Osborne is there to see. Testament to Radders, who must have threatened them with numerous hills at Brantingham if they didn’t acclimatise to his coaching philosophies.
But whatever he’s doing is working. They’re more physical now, which is only natural, and their development is showing. Downs ran some great lines and scored a cracking try, with Logan, Rawsthorne, and the like all getting run outs. Future is bright, and all of that..
5.. Back to business
The next time we see Hull FC will be for real, with the Super League opener next on the calendar.
Against a much improved Huddersfield side it will be a good test, before the squad head out to Australia.
As far as pre-season goes we can be satisfied with what we’ve seen. We let our nearest and dearest win their Cup final, got some minutes into the legs, and comfortably beat a top tier side, but most importantly, there’s no fresh injuries. Hopefully that’ll stay the same and they’ll be no hiccups in training between now and February 1st.
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