Thursday nights. Rancid. Proper rancid for Warrington fans doing that stretch on the M62 car park to get to Hull FC for a 19:45 kick off, not that fans are at the top of the food chain when it comes to Super League’s one and only broadcaster.
It’s about time they were scrapped, or at least some common sense was applied. If Sky must persist with Thursday’s then make the fixtures realistic for fans. A Warrington vs St Helens, a Salford vs Wigan, or a Hull vs Castleford. There’s an abundance of clubs within an hour of Warrington yet the television mob make them travel from one end of Northern England’s most retched motorway to the other. Ridiculous. We’ve done it loads of times too. It wasn’t so long ago that the third rugby league guarantee after no major trophy wins for Rovers and a Wigan cannonball tackle was a Thursday night trip to Widnes. How me miss it. Not. Next weeks game at Huddersfield is testing that Thursday night threshold and already there’s no doubt they’ll be the obligatory cursing when hitting the traffic between Leeds and Bradford. Warrington fans, we feel ya.
To the rugby and both sides come into this round seven fixture with identical records having won three from their opening six games. Both sides have looked good in parts too but also questionable in others whilst both have been tipped to be at the right end of the competition. An interesting match up then with Warrington’s three wins all coming at home with three defeats away. In fact they haven’t won an away game since last July. Hull’s home record isn’t exactly confidence filling either with the Black and Whites winning just nine of the last 25 games stretching back to June 2018. There was a much needed one point win for both sides last week too as the competition showed its competitiveness last Friday with three matches separated by just four points. Squeaky bum time again? Not sure the ticker can handle it to be honest. But this one is wide open and both sides will see it there for the taking.
It’s going to be tough. Hull are without eight players and that can’t be overlooked – Bureta Faraimo, Adam Swift, Jake Connor, Manu Ma’u, Joe Cator, Andre Savelio and Ratu Naulago are all out injured with Ligi Sao suspended. It’s a big ask but there’s still some quality amongst that squad. The feeling at Warrington away prior to kick off last year was one of hopelessness after an understrength line up was announced, yet a sublime defensive performance catalysed a brilliant victory. It can be done. We all want to see some fight in Hull again and stick two fingers up to a bit of adversity like many Lee Radford sides have done before. So don’t right Hull off just yet, not when there’s big game players in that side perfectly capable of digging the side out of a tough situation. Hull really need their home form to pick up and a win would be some way to kickstart it.
Warrington haven’t got going yet despite having two marquee half backs on their books. However Blake Austin ran riot here last season whilst Gareth Widdop knows the place through England duty. That attack hasn’t clicked yet though and it’s a good job as defensively Hull are more than suspect right now.
If Hull can match the Wire up front then they’ve got a chance, that goes without saying, but the home side must stay as clean as possible in the error department and toughen up defensively.
Hull Squad: 1. Jamie Shaul, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 4. Josh Griffin, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 10. Chris Satae, 11. Josh Jones, 14. Albert Kelly, 16. Jordan Johnstone, 19. Masimbaashe Matongo, 20. Brad Fash, 21. Jordan Lane, 22. Josh Bowden, 24. Mahe Fonua, 25. Connor Wynne, 26. Kieran Buchanan, 29. Gareth Ellis, 30. Jack Brown, Charlie Patterson-Lund, Charlie Graham.
Warrington Squad: Sitaleki Akauola, Blake Austin, Keanan Brand, Luther Burrell, Josh Charnley, Daryl Clark, Jason Clark, Mike Cooper, Ben Currie, Matt Davis, Eribe Doro, Anthony Gelling, Chris Hill, Toby King, Tom Lineham, Jake Mamo, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Joe Philbin, Stefan Ratchford, Danny Walker, Gareth Widdop
Last Five Meetings at Hull
2019: Hull 12 Warrington 63
2018: Hull 21 Warrington 12
2017: Hull 34 Warrington 10
2016: Hull 6 Warrington 23
2016: Hull 26 Warrington 24
Head to Head
Super League era – Hull wins 21, Warrington wins 29, draws 2
Only the most optimistic fans will be tipping Hull here, yet this side under Lee Radford have produced some of their best work when they’ve been the underdog. Hull by four points.