When we look back on the final Super League table come September, the two points Hull FC picked up against Wakefield could have a massive bearing on our fortunes – with a fine 30-14 victory putting us third in the competition table.
As expected it wasn’t easy against a plucky Wakefield team. They were under-strength, but so were Hull. The latter were missing nine players but still successfully negotiated two priceless competition points, despite losing both Carlos Tuimavave and Dean Hadley to injuries during the game – not to mention Jack Logan who could barely walk at full-time.
The man himself too, the chicken nugget loving sensation Albert Kelly, also played through the pain barrier, but didn’t he do it with class. They say you can’t buy class, and in Albey’s case they’re not wrong. He has the novelty of being the most amusing free signing in the Airlie Birds’ history. The Challenge Cup winner, who is still rocking the boat in his third season at Hull, in a time where we were led to believe he’d be off the rails or back to his old ways. Little did they know old ways in a Black and White shirt equal scoring tries for fun, as that’s what he’s done for pretty much the whole time he’s spent at Hull’s biggest and most prestigious rugby league club. What a talent. That first try against Wakefield was magical, and his highlight reel extended to two further assists in a Man of the Match display.
Kelly, like a few of his team-mates, will be sore on Monday morning. That was a tough but very rewarding day at the office. Wakefield are a good team – they’re physical and they never give up, and they’ll be right up there competing for a play-off place. That itself shows the magnitude of Hull’s win, it’s a priceless win, but one that we can enjoy and be proud of.
Hull dug deep. They defended well against a Wakefield side obviously missing some creativity, and in attack there was enough skill and potency to post four tries, with seven Marc Sneyd goals taking him to a whisker of being the clubs tenth best all-time points scorer. We’ll monitor those stats with keen interest after every swing of the mercurial left boot – whilst adorning a smug face as every opposition fans ironic Sneeeeeeeeyydd chant comes back to bite them on the arse. After all, that’s what our strawberry blond half back does best. Sneyd produced another adequate display to contribute to his sides eighth win of the season.
Elsewhere Danny Houghton, refreshed after missing Easter Monday, was at his brilliant best once more, scooting to effect and being at the forefront of Hull’s attack. His running game caused Wakefield problems all game, whilst Chris Green, who had a tough return at St Helens, ran superbly off the bench. Two tries also followed for Joe Westerman, taking his season tally to eight. Mental for a loose forward with little over half a season still to go. Then there’s young Connor Wynne scoring yet another Super League try and Scott Taylor ensuring David Fifita’s most memorable moments were spent whining like a schoolgirl. Plenty of positives. Of course there were some errors, but that was to be expected being a third game in nine days. What was particularly impressive was the fact Hull never let those errors get them down and instead continued to ask the question. Eventually it brought reward.
It wasn’t the most fluent game we’ll see all season, but looking back few will care. That fact wasn’t helped by match official Liam Moore, who it must be said was so far out of his depth he’ll be doing tethered swimming next week. Hipsters tend to frown upon referee criticism these days, but they cannot be unaccountable when you get soap operas like that. Moore didn’t have a clue – his interpretations were perplexing and he had about as much consistency in his decisions as Cheryl’s love life. It’s the third time this season we’ve walked away from a Hull victory moaning about officials – Scott Mikalauskas at London and Chris Kendall at Catalans come to mind – and that probably tells you something. There’s no cases of sour grapes here, just a frustration with the incompetence of the man with the whistle.
Few could argue with Gareth Ellis’ first half sin bin, but nothing came of a near Game of Thrones style decapitation on Brad Fash in the second half – what was more frustrating was Moore blew up despite the ball being passed out wide. There were numerous head scratching incidents throughout the game, but a torrid referee display should take no credit or limelight off a fine Hull win. It won’t – but we’re not naive enough to ignore one of the games biggest monstrosities or not question their chief Steve Ganson.
Of course this played its part in the fortunes of both sides. There’s no bias, just ineptness. Luckily it didn’t effect the result. Hull found it hard to shake Wakefield off, but another strong second half performance did the job. The two Westerman tries, both assisted by Kelly, pulled us away, and came during a crucial period of the game.
Hull could and maybe should have posted more points on the board, but you could argue that’s a discredit to Wakefield. Up to third in Super League and advantage to the Black and Whites then, but the sides will meet again in the Summer, and the stakes will probably be even higher.
Hull Starting XIII: 36. Connor Wynne, 24. Jack Logan, 3. Carlos Tuimavave. 14. Jake Connor, 5. Josh Griffin, 6. Albert Kelly, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 23. Mickey Paea, 21. Sika Manu, 11. Dean Hadley, 34. Gareth Ellis. Interchange: 15. Chris Green, 20. Brad Fash, 19, Masimbaashe Matongo, 13. Joe Westerman.
Hull Tries: Kelly, Wynne, Westerman 2. Goals: Sneyd 7/8
Hull 3-2-1 Man of the Match: 3pts Albert Kelly, 2pts Joe Westerman, 1pt Gareth Ellis
Wakefield Starting XIII: 21. Max Jowitt, 5. Ben Jones-Bishop, 4. Reece Lyne, 34. Mason Caton-Brown, 29. Lee Kershaw, 1. Ryan Hampshire, 25. Ben Reynolds, 8. David Fifita, 9. Kyle Wood, 20. Keegan Hirst, 12. Danny Kirmond, 14. Justin Horo, 26. Jordan Crowther. Interchange: 23. Chris Annakin, 16. Tinirau Arona, 22. George King, 24. Pauli Pauli.
Wakefield Tries: Jowitt 2, Horo. Goals: Hampshire 1/3
Scoring System: 6-0, 6-6, 8-6, 14-6, 14-10, 16-10, 22-10, 28-10, 28-14, 30-14
Referee: Liam Moore