Hull FC host London Broncos this Thursday night, knowing two points are vital to keep a grip on third place in Super League.
The Black and Whites have suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time since the opening two rounds, and with the ball at least, have struggling in the last two outings to mount any pressure.
The side have scored just 22-points as well, and they need no reminder to what’s expected if a win against a relegation threatened, but still threatening London side.
They are just two Super League matches to go before the Challenge Cup semi-final showdown with Warrington. Hull must get some form going into that clash, but not only that, consolidate their third place position. It will get even tougher after the semi, and points are vital, with both Wigan and Catalans within striking distance.
Hull are on the back of two consecutive defeats, and no-one wants to make it three for the first time this season. The Black and Whites must get back on track and are capable of doing so, as their sublime form showed before this mini blip.
Jake Connor half back chance
Jake the Snake fancies himself as a half back, a position he has excelled in before, but not this year. Hull have asked him to produce miracles in the role in his handful of auditions this season, and he’s look laboured. This is a real opportunity to show he can still do in his favoured position.
He’ll be alongside Marc Sneyd, and it’s important the duo work together to put some pressure on London. Hull can do that by a strong completion rate, and turning the ball over in good areas. If they can grind the Broncos down then points could follow, if the attacking finesse is there. This is big challenge for both. There’s no Albert Kelly, so someone must step up and replicate the Australian’s sensational recent form.
The boys from the capital are no mugs. They’ve beaten Leeds, St Helens, Wigan and the noisy neighbours this season, and make no mistake they can play.
London have a dangerous attack, and they work hard for each other in defence. When you consider that they’ve had no defeats of the calibre of margin Hull have endured this year then it doesn’t take a genius to work out they compete. It won’t be easy by any stretch of the imagination and talk about how many Hull will win by is premature. Hull have to earn the right to win, otherwise they’ll get beat.
Albert Kelly will miss out the game against London, with Radford opting not to risk the influential half back, having tweaked his hamstring against St Helens last week. Andre Savelio meanwhile has a foot problem, added to previous knee and ankle woes.
Gareth Ellis is named in the squad despite having 40 stitches to his face last week following a clash with Danny Houghton and Joesph Paulo.
Dean Hadley and Kieran Buchanan come into the 19-man-squad.
Jordan Lane made his playing return for the Reserves against Keighley last weekend.
Hull Squad: 1. Jamie Shaul, 2. Bureta Faraimo, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 4. Josh Griffin, 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, 34. Gareth Ellis, 38. Kieran Buchanan.
London Squad: 1. Alex Walker, 2. Rhys Williams, 3. Ben Hellewell, 4. Elliot Kear, 5. Kieran Dixon, 6. Jordan Abdull, 7. James Cunningham, 8. Eddie Battye, 10. Mark Ioane, 12. Jay Pitts, 13. Sadiq Adebiyi, 14. Matty Fozard, 15. Greg Richards, 16. Matty Gee, 17. Matt Fleming, 19. Ryan Morgan, 20. Luke Yates, 23. Robert Butler, 26. Sam Davis.
Last Five Meetings
2019: London 24, Hull 28
2014: London 12 Hull 50
2014: Hull 40 London 4
2013: Hull 48 London 12
2013: London 18 Hull 18
The noisy neighbours could go bottom if London get the two points, but we’re backing Hull to turn it on again – The Black and Whites by 22.