After some inconsistent results across the start of the season, Hull FC have now won four consecutive fixtures for the first time this season.
It’s put the Airlie Birds in a great place too, third on the Super League table and six points in front of the joint fifth, sixth, and seventh place teams, with a Challenge Cup semi-final also to come.
Since the awful Magic Weekend performance we’ve all seen the best of Hull FC. The attack at times has been an absolute joy to watch. The side have threats all over the field and have scored some outstanding team tries. Defensively Hull have been much better too. It all coincides with a stronger team being named, with the injury crisis of the past eighteen months, touch wood at least, finally dying down.
Make no mistake Hull FC are contenders this year, but there can be no complacency. Even going to the noisy neighbours this Thursday for the final Derby of 2019, who are currently the bottom placed side in the competition (try say that out loud without laughing), you can expect nothing. That attitude if applied will see Hull get two points but anything but and they’ll win. Hull cannot take anything for granted. They have to turn up and produce the magic we’ve seen over the past four weeks. Do that and the Black and Whites should be going home happy.
We know Albert Kelly is a doubt with a hamstring problem picked up in Perpignan and he’ll be given as much time as possible to prove his fitness ahead of the game. If he plays great, as he’s in sensational form, if not Jake Connor will partner Marc Sneyd. Hull have Carlos Tuimavave back from injury, so they are not short on options. Those selections could depend on where Josh Griffin plays too, but then again Mark Minichiello also returns. Over to you Mr Radford.
Form out the window?
Hull FC have been brilliant on the road over the past two games, winning at Castleford and then hammering Catalans, whilst some of the rugby league in doing so has been nothing short of phenomenal. When Hull FC turn it on they are an absolute pleasure to watch. There’s quality all over the place and if the side click again then points can be posted at a premium. That suggests this form out the window malarkey we see ahead of every Derby is a load of bollocks. If Hull want it more than Rovers, and are prepared to get down and dirty, then they’ll win. If they don’t, it opens the door for Rovers. It’s as simple as that.
The pantomime villain will relish going back to Caravan Park. He missed the opener through suspension, but played a big part in the Good Friday hammering. Connor is one of the most skilful players in Super League, and if he performs then that gives Hull a great chance of getting the two points. Similar sentiments can be given to Jamie Shaul, Andre Savelio, Josh Bowden, Chris Green, and Ratu Naulago who all missed Easter due to injury and will want to make up for lost time.
A win for Hull would take them to within two points of second placed Warrington, who play St Helens this week. If fortunes favour the Black and Whites then we can really start to dream. This is also the final Derby of 2019. It’s one-a-piece so far, and no-one wants the unwashed getting one over us.
Hull have named their strongest squad of the year, a statement which will be beyond doubt if Albert Kelly lines up on the field.
Meanwhile Rovers have gone for a blend of journeymen, bar maid abusers, and Leeds Whino rejects. Danny McGuire returns and will also referee the game. Matt Parcell is in line to make his first appearance for the bottom placed club after swapping one shit side for another. There’s also more loanees than adulterers in the squad.
Hull Squad: 1. Jamie Shaul, 2. Bureta Faraimo, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 4. Josh Griffin, 6. Albert Kelly, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 10. Josh Bowden, 11. Dean Hadley, 12. Mark Minichiello, 13. Joe Westerman, 14. Jake Connor, 15. Chris Green, 20. Brad Fash, 21. Sika Manu, 23. Mickey Paea, 33. Ratu Naulago, 35. Andre Savelio.
Rovers Squad: Chris Atkin, Ben Crooks, Josh Drinkwater, Mitch Garbutt, Craig Hall, Weller Hauraki, Luis Johnson, George Lawler, Tommy Lee, Kane Linnett, Harvey Livett, Danny McGuire, Mose Masoe, Robbie Mulhern, Daniel Murray, Adam Quinlan, Ryan Shaw, Joel Tomkins, Matt Parcell.
Last Five Meetings
2019: Hull 56 Rovers 12
2019: Rovers 18 Hull 16
2018: Hull 16 Rovers 20
2018: Hull 34 Rovers 22
2018: Rovers 22 Hull 30
Hull by 16.