Hull FC announced Brett Hodgson as the clubs new head coach on Wednesday night.
The Australian and former Wests Tigers, Warrington and Huddersfield player will arrive in Hull next week on a three-year deal. He’s not the white knight many expected, but he is a fresh appointment and a welcome one at that.
Coming to the club with an abundance of ambition, it’s clear confidence is high, but he knows how big the job is and how big the expectation will be.
Hodgson brings with him a fresh approach. He will implement his own way of playing, and it’ll be a vibrant one at that, but he wants the environment to be enjoyable too.
“I like an expansive style of rugby. I think everyone needs to be moving for each other and supporting each other a lot, but not at the expense of errors,” Hodgson said in his first Hull press conference.
“You need to have a nice mix between throwing the ball around and not being irresponsible in terms of what we do. It’ll take some work to gel together as a group but I have time to do that.
“I want to be honest with the players. I feel that is the most important thing. I feel that in order to gain growth in what we are trying to achieve, you have to be honest.
“We’ll keep learning and pushing ourselves and we’ll ask the same of the players. I’d like to have an environment which is enjoyable.
“What people see is the result on the weekend. If you don’t enjoy your training and coming to work every day it becomes very tough to perform on a weekend.
“I’m looking forward to getting over there and getting started and I’m really excited about how we can perform next year.”
Hodgson was selected after a three man shortlist, having applied for the job during the first lockdown.
It’s been a lengthy process due to covid-19, with Hodgson actually having other coaching offers too, before opting for the Airlie Birds, a club he knows well his time in Super League.
“Hull have a proud history and they’re a great club,” Hodgson continued. “I had the first year after I retired in a consultancy role there, Motu Tony was actually the person that introduced me to Lee Radford and I really enjoyed working there.
“The environment was excellent, the facilities were excellent and the people there were very friendly and welcoming.
“I always had that fondness. The opportunity came up and I was definitely going to do my best to get it.
“I put in my application but because of Covid there was quite a time that went by without any announcement or interviews or anything like that, so I had to sit tight and thankfully I’ve been fortunate enough to get this position.”
Hodgson’s backroom staff will feature Hull legend Gareth Ellis, but there is no word right now at least to former interim Andy Last’s new role.
Kieron Purtill will be involved too, but there is a real anticipation to see how Ellis develops as a coach.
“I didn’t get a chance to play with Gareth but I do know him,” Hodgson said. “He’s a very good professional. He knows what he’s talking about.
“I’m really excited to empower him in his role and give him the chance to develop as a coach. I know his professionalism will rub off on the players and I’m really looking forward to seeing his journey. Kieron, on the other hand, I have met several times. In terms of his coaching ability I’ve heard very good things.
“I’m very confident with having both Gareth and Kieron with me in assistant roles and we can move forward together.”
Most importantly Hodgson is no fool. He knows what he’s walking into.
He knows it’s a challenge, and he’s aware of the expectation.
“Expectations are very high,” he added. “That’s coming from Adam, James and myself as a coach. I want to be in an environment which is ambitious and Hull FC have that in spades.
“If you’re not looking to set your expectations really high then I don’t see the point in pushing to be the best.
“I think standards have to improve within the club on the field and in training and it’s my ambition along with the coaching staff that we drive to that.
“That’s what we need to find again and there’s been periods of inconsistency in results over the last few years and we’re looking to find that best performance and minimise the gap between that and the worst performance. That’s the challenge.
“I want to get over there as soon as possible and really get into the planning stage with the staff that’s there. I want to get to know them as quickly as possible and see what they’ve got to offer and see what they’ve got to suggest that we can do better as a group.
“I think it’s important to have conversations around as a club, where we may or may not have succeeded going into the off-season and seeing how we can put some plans in place to make sure we go forward. That’s the aim for me and I’m really excited to get over there and get stuck into it.”