Hull FC Reserves won their first outing of 2019 on Saturday afternoon, defeating Wakefield 24-14 at Bishop Burton College.
A return from Gareth Ellis stole all the headlines, but there was also a hat-trick from Ratu Naulago, with the impressive trialist winger showing some genuine pace and quality to score his tries.
As for Ellis they’ll be constant speculation now to whether or not this Reserve outing was a one off, or whether bigger things await on the horizon. Given what we saw he’ll certainly be considered for a Super League return but there’s nothing conclusive yet – seven days await before the trip to Wigan.
Ratu the Star Man
Ratu Naulago – The Fijian flyer was superb throughout. The 27-year-old showed speed for his breakaway try, took one slickly out of the air and finished well on another. Defensively he was safe under the high bomb and he brought the ball back well. Undecided on his fan nickname, Roland? Definitely decided on the need for a contract though. He’s a better option than some at the club right now, and would be a handy back up to Bureta Faraimo and Fetuli Talanoa. Sign him up.
One Gareth Ellis
You never lose it do you. Ellis was both solid and vocal in two spells on the field, with his return opening up a huge can of worms. Popcorn at the ready.
Under the Radar
Naulago’s hat-trick and Ellis’ return took some limelight off a very good performance from Bobby Downs. He impressed at both half back and full back, dealing with kick offs, taking the line on and remaining defensively sound. Great pass for one of Naulago’s tries too. Everything he did had quality about it.
This was a big opportunity for Mickey Paea to get some form and confidence under his belt but unfortunately it was another poor showing from the big prop. He needs to seriously up his displays or he won’t make the first team when other players return.
Spoilt watching Marc Sneyd aren’t we. Young Cameron Scott gave goal-kicking his best shot but it’s not something that comes natural to him. Then again he did smash one over from the open touchline, but soon after missed one from virtually under the sticks. Swings and roundabouts.
Wakefield were plucky opposition and having featured a lot of young players, given the way the contest was even for parts they can be satisfied with that. A big advocate of the Reserves format, it was an enjoyable game played in good spirit and it was a great effort by them.
The Reserves travel to Keighley next month for the first away fixture of the year – Wednesday 6th March. It’s still mental that a club who almost went bust recently can field a Reserve side whilst certain top flight clubs continue to ignore it.
It was good to see members of the Hull FC first team squad at Bishop Burton College, especially Fetuli Talanoa who’s Super League return could be imminent. As for the below pics who said Sneyd doesn’t like a bit of contact?
Hull Starting XIII: Jack Logan, Ratu Naulago, Cameron Scott, Kieran Buchanan, Charlie Graham, Danny Washbrook, Bobby Downs, Mickey Paea, Jez Litten, Brad Fash, Charlie Patterson-Lund, Jordan Lane, Gareth Ellis.
Interchange: Jack Brown, Harvey Gotts, Levy Nzoungou, Callum Ogden, Ryan Price, Elliot Townsend, Jordan Webster.
Hull Tries: Litten, Graham, Naulago 3. Goals: Scott 2/5