Super League Round Fifteen – Hull FC 28 Rovers 16 – Sunday 22nd May – St James Park, Newcastle
Hull FC not only made it four consecutive Hull Derby victories in a row by beating Hull Kingston Rovers 28-16 on Sunday evening, but now sit proudly at the top of the Super League table following their tenth win in eleven games.
In a remarkable reign of form, the Black and Whites’ season hit new heights with what was in all honesty an average performance at best seeing them home against their bitterest of rivals.
Going two points clear of second placed Warrington, Hull in the end saw off Hull KR in the final game of the Magic Weekend, with a magnificent travelling following behind them. The support from the faithful was incredible as thousands descended on the Toon for the second year running.
The game itself was far from the walkover expected. Only one team turned up to play rugby league, with Rovers seeming content to slow the game down at every opportunity.
Coming off the bench Carlos Tuimavave was instrumental in sealing victory for Hull FC. He came up with two huge passes that lead to tries and distributed with intent and purpose from his introduction.
As always Gareth Ellis was incredible in a captains performance which seemed to lift Hull during his stints. He wasn’t alone either, Scott Taylor and Liam Watts gave everything, as hooking workhorse Danny Houghton completed his 250th Hull FC appearance.
Mahe Fonua meanwhile was outstanding throughout and made his presence count early on as he leaped highest to gather a towering Sneyd bomb. The half back converted, as Curtis Naughton soon ensured a 10-0 lead was to follow, impressively finishing in the corner despite a hint of a forward pass from Fonua.
Their opponents rightly lost Shaun Lunt to the sin bin following a spear tackle on Liam Watts. Maurice Blair also elbowed Sneyd in the face as returning half back / wannabe match official Terry Campese also seemed to eye gouge Jamie Shaul, such was the – at times – disgust of Rovers’ play.
Staggeringly so the ruck control was painfully slow as KR went North with some abysmal and definitely not in the spirit of the game tactics. It brought them some reward though as Lunt crossed over, before Terry Campese added the conversion and a penalty to reduce Hull to a 10-8 lead going into half time.
From the restart Sneyd knocked on with Campese adding another penalty to even the scores. Matty Marsh was splendidly halted by Shaul close to the line, but not long after Graeme Horne put Hull KR ahead before Hull lifted the intensity by a gear or two.
Mahe Fonua powered over to compete his brace running a great line of Ellis, and it wasn’t long before Hull took control.
An exceptional try was concluded with Jamie Shaul coming up with yet another match clinching four pointer. Though the magic moment came from Tuimavave with a bullet pass to release Kirk Yeaman, who showed great composure to find Mark Minichiello who in turn put Shaul over.
The Australian back rower then rampaged through some weak defence to compete the victory, as Sneyd landed his fourth and final goal of the evening.
Sneyd then hit the post with a late drop goal attempt as Hull FC competed yet another Hull Derby victory in the Super League era, moving to the competitions summit at the half way point of the season.
Hull FC Starting XIII: 1. Jamie Shaul, 20. Curtis Naughton, 2. Mahe Fonua, 24. Kirk Yeaman, 5. Fetuli Talanoa, 6. Leon Pryce, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 10. Liam Watts, 21. Sika Manu, 12. Mark Minichiello, 11. Gareth Ellis. Interchange: 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 23. Frank Pritchard, 22. Josh Bowden, 30. Danny Washbrook.
Hull FC Tries: Fonua 2, Naughton, Shaul, Minichiello. Goals: Sneyd 4/5
Rovers Starting XIII: 22. Matty Marsh, 1. Ken Sio, 12. Graeme Horne, 4. Iain Thornley, 21. Thomas Minns, 32. Terry Campese, 7. Albert Kelly, 10. Mitch Allgood, 24. George Lawler, 17. Dane Tilse, 11. Maurice Blair, 20. James Greenwood, 12. Chris Clarkson. Interchange: 8. Adam Walker, 9. Shaun Lunt, 16. James Green. 15. James Donaldson.
Rovers Tries: Lunt, Horne. Goals; Campese 4/4
3-2-1 Man of the Match: 3 pts Mahe Fonua, 2 pts Carlos Tuimavave, 1 pt Gareth Ellis.
Scoring System: 6-0, 10-0, 10-6, 10-8, 10-10, 10-16, 16-16, 22-16, 28-16.
Referee: Richard Silverwood