Revenge is a sweet thing, and make no mistake Hull FC will be feeling pretty dam sweet after getting one over Warrington, beating them 19-12 on their own patch despite missing several key players to injury.
Rather than focus on who was missing though, and it’s pretty easy to do that after enduring a rancid injury run like ours, it’s only right to point out the seventeen blokes who took to the field, who were all magnificent and all played their part in a gutsy victory full of determination. That was the very best of Hull FC under Lee Radford – two competition points bursting with pride following a ballsy and full-blooded effort, the bare minimum of expectation of course, but still all the more admirable given the circumstances, with the class, power and defence to see it home. Take your hats off ladies and gents – that was phenomenal.
We’d even go as far as saying that was one of the best Hull FC performances under our current head coach, who continues to deliver witty post-match comments that would rival the average stand up comedian. Never change Radders. He’s not wrong though. Warrington’s arrogance did Hull FC’s team talk for them. Yes they’ve enjoyed a cricket score over us when you add up the aggregate from the past two games between the sides, but before then one seems to remember Ben Currie bottling it when up stepped one Danny Houghton. If you don’t know the story, it finished with Gareth Ellis lifting the Challenge Cup at Wembley. See two can play at this game.
That Hull FC side was rightly compared as one of the best ever when they went back to the Holy Grail one year later and did it all again, and now in 2019 they’re showing signs of their old self – with the knowledge that we haven’t gone full tilt yet and that we’re certainly capable of knocking anyone off their perch on our day. Make no mistake about it, this season has seen the Black and Whites come out the other side of an injury nightmare and piece by piece the results are showing it, even if we are sometimes going two steps forward and one back.
This result was right up there as the best in recent memory against a very good Warrington side, who chanced their arm and against many other defences would have posted points. That ultimately was the difference between the two teams. Hull FC, marshalled by the superb Jamie Shaul, were magnificent defensively. They scrambled heroically and provided desperate efforts to keep their opposition out. The desire was incredible, that was about as ballsy as it gets. Every player put their body on the line, and many left the pitch knowing that they couldn’t have given anymore. Fair play. That display was brilliant – the character and togetherness of the team were superb.
Hull started the game well and despite going behind to a Toby King try, never backed down. From then on the power of the side shined through. First Mickey Paea crashed over, before Scott Taylor showed more willingness to pounce on a Marc Sneyd kick for a second. Albert Kelly then stormed over like a prop to get a third. Bedlam. The second half heroics all came defensively as Hull’s energy levels were soaked up with the volume of pressure they absorbed. It was brilliant stuff and when Warrington threatened a Sneyd drop-goal put daylight between the sides again. The man for the big occasion, he always steps up when Hull FC need him most, which again makes the oppositions ironic chanting of his name all the more hilarious when his left peg brings them down a notch or two.
As good as Sneyd was, those forwards deserve some plaudits. Paea has been good for weeks on end now and is clearly playing for a new contract, whereas Tag was up there as the games best. He outshined his opposite number Chris Hill, who threw all the toys out the pram as the game went on – however the same can be said of Jake Connor, who was sin binned for scrapping and really, as hard as it is, needs to keep his gob shut. Luckily it didn’t matter too much, despite the game boiling over twice and Ben Tikka-Masala coming out of hiding in the centre to be sent his marching orders late on.
On the wing another first grade appearance was given out to Kieran Buchanan, who didn’t let an early error faze him and stood up again to be counted. Well done young man. On the other edge, just wow. Ratu Naulago, what is it with Fijians producing top class wingers? Well they’ve got another one here. The acting serviceman has been nothing short of brilliant since arriving at Hull and stood out again at Warrington. Defensively he was outstanding, providing some last-ditch tackles and catching high bombs like they were golf balls. Some talent and some find by the absolute sort who found him.
As cliché at it is, 1-17 Hull were absolutely superb. On return from two months out with concussion, Shaul had his moments and was sensational defensively, whilst the composure from Josh Griffin and ability to help his young mate Buchanan out were first class. Elsewhere Dean Hadley did it tough again, Masimbaashe Matongo was solid, and Danny Washbrook put in a presidential like performance. It was noticeable how the calmness of Hull extended during his time on the field. Joe Westerman too did the full eighty in a colossal display. All over the park we were top draw and unexpectedly so against a Warrington team that were no mugs. We certainly feared the worst when the Houghton, Manu and Faraimo absent match-day line up was announced, but one cannot write this Hull FC team off when their stars are out on the field.
The result puts the Black and Whites fourth on the Super League table, level on points with third place Catalans at exactly the half way stage of the regular season. Given the card we’ve been dealt, and also into the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup, that’s not bad. It’s certainly a lot more than was expected from the know-it-all’s outside of the city boundary, most of whom will continue to diminish Hull as a serious threat, but that’s the way we like it. We’ll go about our business quietly as we always do.
As for 2019… well its hard not to get excited from a result like that and we are certainly optimistic of a decent play-off finish, providing the consistency stays within the side at least. For now though that’s job done and in some style. Let’s enjoy it. Get in there and come on you Ull.
Warrington Starting XIII: 1. Stefan Ratchford, 5. Josh Charnley, 18. Toby King, 4. Ryan Atkins, 3. Bryson Goodwin, 6. Blake Austin, 15. Declan Patton, 8. Chris Hill, 9. Daryl Clark, 10. Mike Cooper, 11. Ben Currie, 12. Jack Hughes, 34. Ben Westwood. Interchange: 14. Jason Clark, 13. Ben Murdoch-Masila, 19. Setafeki Akauola, 17. Joe Philbin.
Warrington Tries: King, Austin. Goals: Ratchford 2/2
Hull Starting XIII: 1. Jamie Shaul, 33. Ratu Naulago, 14. Jake Connor, 4. Josh Griffin, 38. Kieran Buchanan, 6. Albert Kelly, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8. Scott Taylor, 30. Danny Washbrook, 23. Mickey Paea, 11. Dean Hadley, 12. Mark Minichiello, 13. Joe Westerman. Interchange: 15. Chris Green, 19. Masimbaashe Matongo, 16. Jordan Thompson, 20. Brad Fash.
Hull Tries: Paea, Taylor, Kelly. Goals: Sneyd 3/3. Drop Goal: Sneyd
Hull 3-2-1 Man of the Match: 3pts Marc Sneyd for his leadership and game management, 2pts Scott Taylor for his ferociousness, outstanding display, 1pt Jamie Shaul who was defensively brilliant and showed what we’ve been missing
Scoring System: 6-0, 6-6, 6-12, 6-18, 12-18, 12-19
Referee: James Child – let the game flow the best he could. Did little wrong