The competitiveness of the Hull FC squad is best exemplified in the outside backs, and with the plethora of options for Lee Radford to pick from, there’s plenty of debate to who will get the two wing spots for the Super League opener at Headingley.
There are a number of combinations and it will be a task in itself this year just to keep everyone happy. Here’s the runners and riders ahead of the 2020 campaign.
Bureta Faraimo: The USA international had a mixed 2019. Chipping in with a respectable 13 tries in 29 games will have done his chances of starting no harm. However, his line defence often left a lot to be desired and no matter how dangerous he can be with the ball, if his defence remains weak then he’s at risk of being dropped. Fairamo though is all too aware of the challenge ahead and was even in pre-season training ahead of schedule after his international commitments – which saw him go to two different continents outside of Europe. That effort level has been replicated in the pre-season games too where he’s really caught the eye.
Verdict: Originally thought he’d be dislodged from his starting spot, but recent performances and line-ups have opened up a new can of worms. They’re only friendlies, but he’s been superb. Likely to start at L**ds now and deserves it.
Mahe Fonua: The golden-toothed prodigal son is back in the city and you can’t help but feel a degree of excitement at his return. Another explosive player whose previous two-year stint speaks for itself. Truth be told, he probably wasn’t initially on the radar for 2020 recruitment but when such a good player becomes available, you don’t say no do you?
Verdict: Probably more effective on the wing but you suspect to reduce the selection dilemma issues (at least on the wing) that he might end up starting at centre, as he did initially when he first joined the club.
Adam Swift: Swift by name and nature, this speedster has been desperately unlucky during his time at St Helens, with only the likes of Regan Grace and Tommy Makinson stopping him from starting more games. 86 tries in 130 games for Saints speaks volumes and at 26-years-old, his best years could yet be ahead of him.
Verdict: The Boss seems to be a big fan and if not for a niggling pre-season injury he’d have probably been one of the first names on the team-sheet. Faces a proper battle for a place now.
Ratu Naulago: Roland Ratuuu, his rise to fame has been nothing short of spectacular hasn’t it? The epitome of explosive power and pace, nobody could have quite predicted what was to come when he started against Wigan back in March last season. He finished as Hull’s top try scorer in 2019 with 15 tries to his name. Not bad for a relative novice to the game. However Ratu also topped the error count, and that might sway a decision against him.
Verdict: If you’re picking players based on form, then you have to assume Naulago will be given licence to thrill again. He’s scored five times in pre-season.
Matty Dawson-Jones: Desperately unlucky when he was struck down with an ACL injury one game into a promising start to his Hull FC career. He has worked extremely hard to work back up to fitness and has now joined Bradford and leaves the club with everyone’s best wishes.
A footnote – The Academy/Reserves double-header at Caravan Park scheduled for this Saturday has been called off at the request of the old enemy. The Academy game will now take place at Bishop Burton College.