It’s finally Manu Ma’u time as Hull FC travel to Batley this Sunday for their final pre-season game before the proper stuff starts.
Lee Radford has named his strongest squad to date, with the majority of what you’d presume will be the team playing at Headingley getting a run out.
Ma’u joins fellow new signing Josh Jones in the squad, with Jake Connor, Scott Taylor and Gareth Ellis also getting their first appearances of the year.
The Tongan Terminator
Manu Ma’u is set for his first run out in Hull FC colours. It’s only a friendly of course, but there’s a lot of excitement to see this fella play and rightly so. It’s a blockbuster signing. Ma’u is genuinely top quality, and despite the fact that he scares the shit out of us, we can’t wait to see him.
Named in the Super League Dream Team last year and one of just a handful of players that remembered to pack his limbs for the recent Great Britain tour, Jones is also a top signing, and this is the first glimpse we’ll see of him in Hull FC colours. More stacked than the Asda shelves before a heat wave, the back rower is expected to bust tackles and offload for fun this year. He’s part of a new look left edge and he’ll no doubt want to start with a bang.
There’s still places to grab for the Super League opener, for instance the hooking role. Danny Houghton is a doubt, so there’s a further opportunity for Joe Cator and Jordan Johnstone to impress. Johnstone missed the game against London, whereas Cator put in a right shift.
Likewise you’d imagine they’d be room for just one of Brad Fash, Masimbaashe Matongo or Jack Brown, so this is a chance to nail down a spot. The same applies for the winger and centre positions, and if Jake Connor wants the half back gig, then this is his first audition to show why. Lots of incentives and that should bring with it some decent rugby.
Class of 2020
Baring Houghton, the five-some of Scott Taylor, Chris Satae, Josh Jones, Manu Ma’u, and Ligi Sao should feature together at Batley, a pretty haunting prospect for any side to contend with. Sao was proper tidy against London too and hopefully we’ll see more of that here. With a strong back line too there should be some fluency and shape about Hull’s attack. That’ll get the juices following ahead of a sell out away following to Headingley.
Eldon Myers has impressed with his pace and power whilst on trail so far, and this is the last first team friendly for him to catch the eye to get a deal. He’s got some fine players in front of him, but don’t rule anything out. It’s a long season and with the Reserves making a proper return too, strength in depth is so important. The Reserves also play a trial game at Caravan Park next week and Eldon will likely play in that too.
Hull FC announced a new dual reg partnership with Championship club Bradford this week. Four young players, Kieran Buchanan, Charlie Patterson-Lund, Charlie Graham and Connor Wynne, are the first to run out for John Kear’s side against Dewsbury. It’s also worth noting, if you haven’t heard already, that Cameron Scott and Lewis Bienek will spend the year on loan at Leigh.
It’s been a while since Hull FC played at Batley. Definitely one for the ground hoppers, well at least for the younger ones at least. We’ll be there freezing our nads off with our January issue.
Hull Squad: 2. Bureta Faraimo, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 4. Josh Griffin, 6. Jake Connor, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8. Scott Taylor, 10. Chris Satae, 11. Josh Jones, 12. Manu Ma’u, 13. Ligi Sao, 14. Albert Kelly, 15. Joe Cator, 16. Jordan Johnstone, 19. Masimbaashe Matongo, 20. Brad Fash, 21. Jordan Lane, 23. Andre Savelio, 24. Mahe Fonua, 29. Gareth Ellis, 30. Jack Brown, 33. Ratu Naulago, Eldon Myers, Jack Sanderson.
Batley vs Hull FC, Sunday 19th January, Mount Pleasant, kick off 2pm, tickets on the gate