Hull FC knew the stakes, and that has to go down as a massive opportunity missed, with the manner in which the side collapsed yet again most disappointing.
That was bad. It was as weak as we’ve seen Hull all season, as Salford, particularly Jackson Hastings behind a dominant forward pack, ran the show in a 22-44 win. It was largely of Hull’s own making too. Yes Salford are good with the ball and they looked really slick, but they benefited from both numerous Hull unforced errors and a lethargic defence that failed to move up and ask questions of the attack, the same sort of mistakes and defensive naivety we see each week. More frustrating though was how it coincided, and as the game went on each error was compounded by a defensive blunder. There was no respect for the ball or desire to defend as the scoreboard got more sinister either. It became ugly, and not for the first time on the home ground this season.
It was a horrendous display. A right kick in the knackers, a blown chance for Radford’s side to show themselves as a serious contender, and not a false pretender. And that’s the most frustrating thing. Hull have shown at times this season that they have more than enough ability to be comfortably in the five and right now that side should be sitting outright second in Super League. But the table doesn’t lie. Hull are not consistent. They are weak. There’s been too many times this year when the going has got tough and that side doesn’t want to know. Defensive efforts in the second half were embarrassing. Some of the attacking plays were abysmal. It’s up there with the worst this season and the disappointment is telling.
Second place was literally there for the taking, especially when going 16-6 up. It didn’t even seem that Hull had to break sweat to get to that feat either. Everything was laid in front of them to really kick on but then first tackle errors came about and when the side actually got to the last, a seven tackle set was given away. When things started to go against Hull, they got worse. Everything seemed rushed, which is madness given the simplicity of the first two tries. Hull needlessly over complicated simple plays. Then the errors came. Then the poor defence. Then the heads dropped. It was such a weak performance, and partially explains why Radford is ripping the squad up at the end of the year. Mentally that was as bad as it gets. There was an arrogance about Hull. That justifies a sinister reaction. It’s frightening. The basics were avoided and on the contrary Salford did those basics and eventually ran away with it. They made Hull look stupid. They’re bang in form too, and whilst moaning about Hull, you can take nothing away from the visitors. With all the disruption there, the job Ian Watson has done is nothing short of phenomenal.
As for the players, well Hastings was outstanding, but he had the freedom to do as he liked. It’s so much easier for a half to play on the front foot, and the Aussie roamed about the place in his dinner jacket. On the contrary his opposite number Marc Sneyd had his back to the wall, trying to make something happen and instead throwing pass after pass into touch. It wasn’t his day and he is accountable to an extent, but there was little foundation. Point the fingers at those who made the errors that led to Salford points when the game was in the balance. Those silly errors – trying to offload on the first and forcing passes when completion and therefore mounting pressure was of more importance. Hull didn’t show any game smarts at all and that has been lacking for weeks now.
Something’s just not right. Do some of these players thing they’re bigger than what they actually are? Are some of those players even fit? Does this side have an Albert Kelly phobia – can’t remember the last decent display without the Aussie maverick. Lot of questions. Right now Hull are way off and Old Trafford looks a light-year away. So much for being the fart in the room. Maybe there’s a reason few talk about Hull seriously. They are a side unfortunately that historically at least has flattered to deceive.
In many respects this result was typical Hull FC. Massive chance to get a foothold on the competition and it’s been thrown away. With just three regular season games to go now it’s wide open too, but should this team make the play-offs, right now it seems they’ll just be making the numbers up, and given the ability they’ve showed on occasion this year, that could be considered a travesty, but actually highlights the inconsistency perfectly. It’s a reflection of where Hull are at, and explains the hefty recruitment drive ahead of 2020.
One of those new boys, Tevita Satae, brought in early to push for the Grand Final (try saying that without laughing at loud) made his Hull debut, and that was virtually the only positive. It’s certainty one to forget, with a break from the soap opera most welcome. Huddersfield next on Friday week.
Hull Starting XIII: 1. Jamie Shaul, 33. Ratu Naulago, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 4. Josh Griffin, 2. Bureta Faraimo, 14. Jake Connor, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 23. Mickey Paea, 22. Jordan Lane, 13. Joe Westerman, 34. Gareth Ellis. Interchange: 10. Josh Bowden, 39. Tevita Satae, 20. Brad Fash, 38. Kieran Buchanan.
Hull Tries: Taylor, Paea, Faraimo, Lane. Goals: Sneyd 3/4
Hull 3-2-1 Man of the Match: 3pts Jordan Lane, 2pts Mickey Paea, 1pt Joe Westerman
Salford Starting XIII: 1. Niall Evalds, 23. Ken Sio, 3. Kris Welham, 5. Jake Bibby, 26. Krisnan Inu, 30. Tui Lolohea, 31. Jackson Hastings, 8. Lee Mossop, 19. Logan Tomkins, 15. Adam Walker, 11. Josh Jones, 29. Ryan Lannon, 16. Greg Burke. Interchange: 13. Mark Flangan, 14. Joey Lussick, 32. Josh Johnson, 18. Ben Nakubuwai.
Salford Tries: Sio 2, Mossop 2, Bibby, Inu 2, Hastings. Goals: Inu 6/8
Scoring System: 0-6, 6-6, 12-6, 16-6, 16-12, 16-16, 16-22, 16-28, 22-28, 22-34, 22-38, 22-44
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas