This Hull FC side broke the record books winning back-to-back Challenge Cup’s at Wembley.
Immortalised, they made all of our wildest dreams come true, but that was then, and this is now. Back then they justified their praise, and now they must cop their criticism. Hull FC have now gone full circle, the ultimate high to the ultimate low, suffering an all-time RECORD defeat as Warrington smashed us 80 points to 10 at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.
Surpassing the 76-18 embarrassment that saw the end of Peter Gentle’s reign as head coach, this team went one better, conceding 80-points for the first time in 153 years of proud Hull FC history. They were an absolute disgrace, with many of them not fit to wear the shirt. That was as bad as it gets. It was complete and utter humiliation, and presented live for the watching rugby league community to witness. Great.
Not for one second condoning what transpired, but this is the ugly side of the Super 8s. With nothing to play for you saw Hull throw the towel in. Well you could argue they did so three weeks ago. But here they not only threw it in, but also cut it into a thousand pieces. You can’t defend that. There was nothing about Hull, who went through the motions, showed little if any desire, and as far as effort goes, well, if you think 100% was put in then invite me to your next party and bring whatever you’re smoking.
The clubs die-hard supporters don’t deserve that. Well none of them do. But especially the ones that braved another Thursday night in the M62 car park, travelling to the other side of the Pennines to watch a side that looked more focused on their end of season holiday. I’m absolutely embarrassed by that performance. The attitude stank. Conceding a total of 14-tries, five of which went to Bryson Goodwin, paper bags have shown more bottle in defence and I’ve seen more cohesion in the RFL’s ability to organise an Autumn series against New Zealand than in Hull FC’s attack. Apparently they’ve trained the house down, but it does make you pause and think what the hell has gone on, as arthritic cardboard cut outs doesn’t quite cut it. The irony. That was shambolic. No words can describe how bad that was. The players deserve every mount of criticism they get. They need to take a long hard look at themselves, stop drowning in self-pity, man up, and respond in front of a home crowd next week.
We understand it’s tough. We get that injuries have been a bastard and have derailed Hull FC’s season. but they’ve become tedious, and to be honest, have papered over some cracks. Players have come back too early, are playing through the pain barrier and it shows. But you can’t excuse that. You expect Hull FC sides to come out and have some resilience about them. We’re supposed to be made of stern stuff, but right now we’re like quicksand. Our mental toughness is non-existent. We’ve caved in. Given up. And for the paying supporter that’s not good enough. It’s almost unforgivable. Compare that to Warrington who responded to a Wembley defeat with that display and the sides are worlds apart.
The harsh reality is there are players in that squad that aren’t good enough. The pack is being dominated every week and that takes Danny Houghton out of the game. The half backs are anonymous. There’s nothing for them to work off but they’re not working on their own initiative either. The last tackle options are woeful. Players are clearly out of form. Sika Manu is a shadow of the former formidable forward that scared people away at the sheer mention of his name. Jordan Abdull has been atrocious since he’s come back from injury. Bureta Faraimo can’t defend if his life depended on it. Mickey Paea was too busy wiping the egg off his face following his latest media comments. That’s just to name a few. The realisation is that almost all of that squad was atrociously poor, and none are void from fans sticking the boot in.
The only grace you can take from the current situation is that these Super 8s fixtures are meaningless, and it’s not necessary a reflection on where Hull FC are at right now. Still though, a concern for 2019 and beyond is justified. I’m concerned. I’m genuinely worried. I think our pack is weak. We lack grunt. We’ve got no mongrel about us. We’re too soft. Masimbaashe Matongo is not the answer. He’s been thrown in at the deep end to replace Liam Watts but he can’t live up to that at his tender age. The same can be said for Brad Fash, although I might have to take up fishing or something as apparently they’re both good enough for the England Knights. The jury is still out on Lewis Bienek. We haven’t seen enough of him yet, and I’m not getting ecstatic over a few YouTube vids.
Without Jake Connor and Albert Kelly, there’s no class about Hull FC, and you can throw Joe Westerman in there too. He was sensational before his injury and will add so much to our attacking dimensions going forward. In his absence, there’s no shape. Dean Hadley was much better when taking the third middle role but he’s not Westerman-class. Few are. Add to that the missing guile and leadership of Marc Sneyd and you can see why Hull FC are struggling. Questions are rightly being asked, and based on this evidence, if further investment isn’t added to this squad, then it’s hard to see nothing but mid-table mediocrity for us in 2019. That’s an observation. It’s based not only on seven weeks of utter crap, but also on poor displays earlier in the season.
It’s about not becoming complacent as a club, but kicking on and building on what we’ve already achieved. In my opinion Hull FC are not giving themselves the best opportunity to do that, but again you can elude to the dead rubber nature of the Super 8s, and pray if anything that normal service will resume after a much needed regroup in pre-season, fresh start, and new Super League season.
Warrington Starting XIII: 1. Stefan Ratchford, 2. Tom Lineham, 3. Bryson Goodwin, 18. Toby King, 27. Josh Charnley, 6. Kevin Brown, 7. Tyrone Roberts. 8. Chris Hill, 9. Daryl Clark. 10. Mike Cooper, 13. Ben Murdoch-Masila, 30. Bodene Thompson, 12. Jack Hughes. Interchange: 15. Declan Patton, 17. Joe Philbin, 19. George King, 29. Ben Pomeroy.
Warrington Tries: Charnley 2, T.King 2, Goodwin 5, Hughes, Philbin, Roberts, Lineham, Ratchford. Goals: Roberts 12/14
Hull Starting XIII: 1. Jamie Shaul, 2. Bureta Faraimo, 4. Josh Griffin, 3. Carlos Tuimavave. 5. Fetuli Talanoa, 16. Jordan Abdull, 35. Liam Harris, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton. 23. Mickey Paea, 17. Danny Washbrook, 11. Dean Hadley, 21. Sika Manu. Interchange: 29. Masimbaashe Matongo, 36. Lewis Bienek, 26. Jordan Lane, 22. Jez Litten.
Hull Tries: Talanoa, Griffin. Goals: Faraimo 1/2
Scoring System: 6-0, 6-6, 12-6, 18-6, 24-6, 28-6, 34-6, 40-6, 46-6, 46-10, 52-10, 58-10, 64-10, 68-10, 74-10, 80-10
Referee: Liam Moore