After an absolute blinder of an opening day win at Headingley, Hull FC open their home account with the Hull Derby on Friday night. No biggie then.
Its one of the biggest fixtures in Super League and needs no introduction, with the KCOM Stadium set for a 20,000 plus crowd. Proper blockbuster.
It perhaps won’t be as comfortable as Headingley was, but most Hull FC fans will be very surprised if we don’t make it a 20th Super League Derby victory. There’s an abundance of quality in that Hull FC squad. Even with a couple of fresh knocks, those that will step into the squad will add to it. Don’t forget it was the man from the bench last week in Andre Savelio who was most people’s Man of the Match. The pack still contains Chris Satae. Scott Taylor, Ligi Sao, Josh Jones etc. It’s a monstrous pack that will get on top again and set a platform. Hull FC were so professional at Leeds, they were hardly any errors and the completion rates were therefore excellent. Of course it will be tough, it’s a Hull Derby and no-one will take them lightly, but if we continue that approach and post points when we get our opportunities then the two points shouldn’t be a problem.
No excuses, it’s a squad game after all
The Tongan Terminator is on our front cover this week so it was a bit of a kick in the knackers reading Hull FC’s injury update on Thursday morning. Manu Ma’u will be out for 4-5 weeks with a MCL injury and Gareth Ellis is absent for 1-2 weeks with an ankle problem. Joe Cator is also out for up to a month. This is why you have a squad. Hull FC’s strength in depth has been mentioned countless times recently and now it’s time to see it. Hardly a crisis when you can potentially throw the likes of Mahe Fonua and ‘Dr Dre’ Savelio into the starting line up, is it?
Danny Houghton is back for the Derby and is set to make his 350th Hull FC appearance. It’s a remarkable achievement and shows what a servant to the club he’s been. Houghton has played in an era of elite Super League hookers, and given that he’s constantly brilliant every week, it’s sort of expected of him now and he can therefore go under the radar. Mint though is massive to what Hull FC do with and without the ball. His effort levels are phenomenal. His blood turns to water for the Hull FC cause and he’ll love leading his hometown team out in the Derby once again. Bring it on.
Make the KCOM a fortress
Hull FC’s home form has been proper rancid over the last couple of years and it’s something that needs addressing this season. Almost 9,000 fans have bought into the hype and purchased memberships. That needs rewarding new. A solid and eye-catching sequence of home results can set the tone for a strong Super League campaign.
It may not feel like home at times. Amidst the regular defeats over the past two seasons, things like the Allams asking for FORTY THOUSAND pounds for a friendly, making us go to Brantingham Park, and their general bellendry with the Whiteley photos, AllamGate and council signs sees to that, but it is what it is. The KCOM Stadium is Hull’s state-of-the-art venue; the crown jewel, a shiny bowl in the heart of the city. It’ll be here long after they are gone. So cherish it. It’ll be packed for this one and it can rock at times. Get behind the lads and they’ll hopefully reward us.
By most accounts Wakefield were diabolical at Caravan Park last week but it would be naive not to give Rovers any credit after posting 30-points. It’s a lot more than most tipped and they seemed to throw the ball about and look to stretch their opposition. That’s the only way they’ll get any joy out of Hull too. They’ll look to play around a big pack and use their pacey outside backs. One of those, a former Black and White larker called Ben Crooks, got four tries last week. There’s no room for complacency.
Hull Squad: 1. Jamie Shaul, 2. Bureta Faraimo, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 4. Josh Griffin, 5. Adam Swift, 6. Jake Connor, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 10. Chris Satae, 11. Josh Jones, 13. Ligi Sao, 14. Albert Kelly, 16. Jordan Johnstone, 19. Masimbaashe Matongo, 20. Brad Fash, 21. Jordan Lane, 22. Josh Bowden, 23. Andre Savelio, 24. Mahe Fonua, 33. Ratu Naulago.
Rovers Squad: 1. Adam Quinlan, 2. Ben Crooks, 3. Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 4. Kane Linnett, 5. Greg Minikin, 7. Jordan Abdull, 8. Robbie Mulhern, 12. Harvey Livett, 13. Dean Hadley, 14. Mitch Garbutt, 15. George Lawler, 16. Dan Murray, 17. Kyle Trout, 18. Jez Litten, 19. Will Dagger, 25. Matty Gee, 26. Will Maher, 27. Elliot Minchella, 28. Matthew Storton, 30. Jamie Ellis, 31. Ryan Brierley.
Albert Kelly will miss the Derby due to suspension, having picked up a two match ban for a dangerous throw whilst playing for Hull FC Reserves against Bradford.
It’s likely Mahe Fonua will make his second club debut too, slotting into the centre position with Josh Griffin moving up the back row and Andre Savelio starting at loose forward.
Last Five Meetings
2019: Rovers 18 Hull 10
2019: Hull 56 Rovers 12
2019: Rovers 18 Hull 16
2018: Hull 16 Rovers 20
2018: Hull 34 Rovers 22
Hull FC by 14 points.