Here we go again, a new Super League season for Hull FC drawing closer, and we can’t wait.
Expectation is aplenty and the squad assembled is superb, glimpses of which we’ve seen in the pre-season games.
Here’s what we’ve taken out of the warm up stuff.
1.. Andre Savelio is back
Seeing the likes of Manu Ma’u and Josh Jones in a Hull FC shirt at Batley was enough to wet the appetite alone, but in truth the biggest positive to take out of pre-season has been Andre Savelio.
Somewhat the forgotten man following two years of persistent injury problems, one of which at Brisbane before his first year at Hull, the versatile forward has played the most January minutes out of anyone in the pack and has looked good value for it.
Savelio, now fit and with a point to prove, adds some proper quality to the side. We’ve seen that quality this month. Savelio can play. His physical attributes are bang on too and he’s mobile. That allows him to feature right across the pack and is a key reason why he’ll be a mainstay in the match-day line up. Don’t leave him out, lads.
2.. Faraimo must be in the side
Anyone who has read the January issue of UTC will know Bureta Faraimo wasn’t in what our editor considered to be Hull FC’s strongest line up for this year. The shame of it. But Faraimo has been an absolute wrecking ball in the three trial games and if selections are anything to go by, then he has forced his way into the side for the Super League opener.
Competition is rampant and especially in the outside backs with Ratu Naulago, Adam Swift and Mahe Fonua, but the big winger just has to be included. Yeah they’re only friendlies but he’s been superb. It also sends out a strong message that hard work brings rewards.
3.. Offload, offload, offload
Remember that first home game against Wakefield where all of their big lads just ran over us? Yeah same. *shudders*
Hull FC didn’t dominate teams last year and that was just one example. This year though will be different. The pack is much more intimidating, and not just from Manu Ma’u’s death stare alone. There’s punch all over, from a brand new back row, to a fully fit Savelio, to a fresh Chris Satae, a pressure relieved Scott Taylor, and new boy Ligi Sao. Then there’s Gaz Ellis, Josh Bowden, little Brad Fash and co. Proper tasty.
Sao really caught the eye against London with his constant offloads, and like many he’ll do it at will. That’s the thing with Hull this year. With power in abundance this side will top all the tackle bust and offload stats. There will be loads of second phase attack and if we can get bodies round the bloke with the ball then it will be points galore. Obviously errors will come too, but on the whole it should make for a much more compelling brand of rugby league. Yeah the two competition points are of the most importance, but it’s nice to do it by smashing the shit out of your opposition too.
4.. One club and all that
Hull FC’s team pictures showed one club united, with the ladies, academy, wheelchair and disability teams all pictured together. Lovely stuff.
It was great to see the Hull FC Academy back with a bang too, smashing our nearest and dearest 48-22 in a friendly at Bishop Burton College. They’ve got their identity back now with all the merged nonsense with that lot over the river no-more. There’s a pathway into the Reserves too, a natural progression, and all under one club. You can’t play down the importance of that.
5.. Eldon Myers, what’s the deal?
Hull FC have given a trial to rugby union navy player Eldon Myers this winter. He played in all three pre-season games and did little wrong. He’s got plenty of pace and power too and wouldn’t be a bad addition to the squad, featuring in the Reserves until an opportunity comes up.
He won’t count on the cap either with his union background.
6.. High standards
You take pre-season with a pinch of salt but after glimpses of Manu Ma’u and the way Lee Radford wants Hull FC to play, there’s a lot of excitement building. After two frustrating years the 2020 squad is genuine quality. There can be no excuses now, expectations are high, and the side must deliever.
There’s been a lot of money spent and that has to bring back some reward. An absolute minimum requirement has to be a play-off place, but in truth Hull should be looking at a top three finish with a major final appearance. There’s some outstanding players at this club, both old and new, and there’s a head coach who knows how to get the best out of his side.
Hull start with a trip to Headingley and then we play the Derby. Win both of those and the whole place will be bouncing.