If you listen carefully, you’ll hear the sounds of Hull FC crashing back down to earth, but don’t worry it’s not catastrophic, despite a 12-32 home defeat to a very good Wakefield side.
Three wins, the return of Gareth Ellis and the announcement of new signing Andre Savelio had lifted the mood of the whole club, but here you could argue that some complacency crept in. Wakefield were bang at it. Hull weren’t. Hull were well beat, second best in every department. Their contacts were poor and discipline shocking. Naivety and dumb options killed us, whereas Trinity were simple, but really effective. Their forward pack dominated. Players like David Fifita, Craig Kopzcak and Pauli Pauli just ran over us.
It was the first indication this season, on the field at least, that our pack isn’t as formidable as it once was, but we won’t swing that hammer and call out individuals. Sometimes things just don’t go your way. Nights like that can happen and it’s how you bounce back that matters. It’s the first time this season that the performance level hasn’t been good enough, and it’s not like we’re struggling at the foot of the table either. Sometimes you just have to credit your opposition.
Wakefield, who were dealt a sucker punch with a downpour last week, are big, strong, fast and efficient. They are a team full of quality, with some ex-Hull FC larkers amongst them. Their half back combination, Danny Brough and the talented Jacob Miller, ran the show, whilst on the edges Reece Lyne was outstanding.
Lyne has developed into a quality Super League player and is, like many in that Wakefield team, criminally under-rated. The way he bounces out of tackles is ridiculous. The same can be said on the other flank with Bill Tupou, arguably one of the best centres in the competition. There’s no ‘names’ in that Wakefield side but they work hard as a team. That’s what makes them likeable – no prima-donnas, they just knuckle down and get the job done, and are nurtured by a coach who crazily was binned off by his previous employer. We’re only around a fifth of the way through the season, but they’ll be knocking on the door of a play-off space for sure.
For Hull that aspiration is still realistic. Sometimes these defeats serve a purpose. It’s a wake up call, and after beating three struggling sides, a reality check. There were some poor individual displays, but a few good ones too. Carlos Tuimavave was the best Hull player on the night. He was busy and always a threat with the ball, running it in and keeping the play alive. He deserved more.
What became apparent though was that Hull looked more dangerous with Jez Litten on the field. Danny Houghton wasn’t at the level he showed at Wigan or last week against Leeds, in fact he was more effective as a ball player, and Hull actually got themselves back into the game with Litten at nine. Litten is explosive from the play of the ball, and one break in the second half was eye-catching, although the pass to Dean Hadley was a shocker. It’s also a telling statement that Gareth Ellis was probably Hull’s best forward on the night, although Sika Manu punched some holes in Wakefield’s defence at times. In truth though our forward pack was well beaten.
Hull were just off the pace. The threat of Hull’s pivots was nullified and their impact therefore reduced – though our two tries from Houghton and Bureta Faraimo came off short Marc Sneyd kicks to the in-goal. Elsewhere we had opportunities, but were wasteful with the ball, whereas Wakefield took their chances. They scored twice in the first half through Ryan Hampshire and Tupou, and in all honesty to go down at the break by just two points was an injustice to the way Wakefield played.
Hull were rarely in the game. There were four sin bins on the night, Wakefield capitalised when Kelly was sent to the bin, and then the same with Sneyd late on, but Hull didn’t when Danny Kirmond received the same treatment. That was a telling difference, the way the Wakefield forwards set the platform and how the half backs took advantage. Pauli was also sent his marching orders in the final minute.
It must be pointed out though, and it’s not sour grapes, how the Wakefield players were pointing at the referee to get the Hull lads in the bin. We did the same too with Kirmond. It’s an area of the game we need to stamp out. We shouldn’t be trying to get fellow players sin binned or dismissed, nor con penalties and roll around at the play of the ball like a hyper baby throwing a tantrum. We’re supposed to be an honest sport, not resemble Premier League football. It’s something that is really creeping into our game, at least in the top flight. Every side is guilty of it and it must be cut out.
Anyway, and after Hull got themselves back into it, Wakefield bossed the second half, with tries coming again from Tupou, plus efforts from Pauli and Lyne. Brough kept the scoreboard kicking with some penalty goals too, and Hull rarely had a sniff.
Wakefield were genuinely the better team, but losing one game doesn’t make you a bad side. We played a team better than us on the night. It happens. Now it’s about bouncing back.
Well done to Trinity, no demented zoo-franchise names here, and best wishes also to Tom Johnstone who was stretchered off in the first half. For Hull, it’s back to the training field and on to London next week.
Hull Starting XIII: 1. Jamie Shaul, 33. Ratu Naulago, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 4. Josh Griffin, 2. Bureta Faraimo, 6. Albert Kelly, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 19. Masimbaashe Matongo, 21. Sika Manu, 12. Mark Minichiello, 13. Joe Westerman. Interchange: 34. Gareth Ellis, 16. Jordan Thompson, 11. Dean Hadley, 28. Jez Litten.
Hull Tries: Houghton, Faraimo. Goals: Sneyd 2/2.
Hull 3-2-1 Man of the Match: 3pts Carlos Tuimavave, 2pts Gareth Ellis, 1pt Sika Manu
Wakefield Starting XIII: 1. Ryan Hampshire, 5. Ben Jones-Bishop, 4. Reece Lyne, 3. Bill Tupou, 2. Tom Johnstone, 6. Jacob Miller, 7. Danny Brough, 8. David Fifita, 9. Kyle Wood. 10. Anthony England, 11. Matty Ashurst, 12. Danny Kirmond, 26. Jordan Crowther. Interchange: 14. Justin Horo, 15. Craig Kopzcak. 24. Pauli Pauli, 16. Tinirau Arona.
Wakefield Tries: Hampshire, Tupou 2, Pauli, Lyne. Goals: Brough 6/8
Scoring System: 0-6, 0-8, 0-14, 6-14, 12-14, 12-18, 12-20, 12-24, 12-26, 12-32
Referee: Liam Moore