Hull FC travel to Warrington at the half way stage of Super League, looking to install some revenge after an embarrassing reverse defeat earlier in the year.
The Airlie Birds, on paper at least, are much stronger than the side that lost 12-63 to a rampant Wolves side two months ago, but they know they must be at their best if they want to return with two competition points on Saturday afternoon.
That itself is probably a big ask – it’s achievable, never say never and all that, but Warrington will start as favourites and rightly so.
Stopping Blake Austin
The marquee man from the NRL ripped Hull apart the last time the two sides met. Austin scored an incredible four tries in a Man of the Match display. He was too hot for Hull to handle, like he has been for the large majority of sides in Super League, and if we want to return home with a win, then stopping the Aussies exploits will be key.
Getting on top in the forwards
There’s no Gareth Ellis for Hull FC’s trip to Warrington, which means there’s a higher importance on the performances of Chris Green, Mickey Paea and Masimbaashe Matongo.
Scott Taylor will lead from the front as always, but against a Wolves pack you can get on top of and therefore restrict the influence of Daryl Clark, there’s an onus on Paea and Green to perform. Both to their credit have been playing well recently, and both are out of contract at the end of the year. Hull are understood to have not made decisions on some players’ future yet, so this is an opportunity to show that they warrant a new deal. If they want to stay, then they need to produce fireworks.
Spine to play together for the first time this year
Jamie Shaul is finally back in the side after concussion problems. The fullback, who was in outstanding form before his injury, is a superb runner of the ball, who can strike from anywhere.
A betting man would go with Albert Kelly and Marc Sneyd in the halves, Jake Connor at Centre and Shaul at fullback. With Danny Houghton and Joe Westerman in the side too, this will be the first time in 2019 that Lee Radford has had the luxury of naming his most creative players all at once.
There’s some serious talent there and it’s important Hull use those threats if they want to get the two points.
Hull FC need to show that they can compete against a top two side. They’ve been walloped by both St Helens (16-62) and Warrington (12-63) this year and that can’t happen again.
The performances have been too Jekyll and Hyde in 2019 and obviously that coincides with who’s out on the field. Hull’s injury list is shortening though, and whilst they’d like Ellis, Carlos Tuimavave, Josh Bowden and Andre Savelio all playing, the squad is still good enough to go out and compete. No excuses now. Time to see what Hull FC are made of.
Hull are without Gareth Ellis, Carlos Tuimavave, Josh Bowden, Jordan Lane and Andre Savelio, but do welcome back Jamie Shaul into the side.
Liam Harris has also moved to high-flying Championship outfit York on loan, initially for a month, with the view to the rest of the season pending the needs of both clubs.
There’s no Tom Lineham for Warrington, with their only other noticeable absentee coming in Kevin Brown.
Hull Squad: 1. Jamie Shaul, 2. Bureta Faraimo, 4. Josh Griffin, 6. Albert Kelly, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 11. Dean Hadley, 12. Mark Minichiello, 13. Joe Westerman, 14. Jake Connor, 15. Chris Green, 16. Jordan Thompson, 19. Masi Matongo, 20. Brad Fash, 21. Sika Manu, 23. Mickey Paea, 30. Danny Washbrook, 33. Ratu Naulago.
Warrington Squad: 1. Stefan Ratchford, 3. Bryson Goodwin, 4. Ryan Atkins, 5. Josh Charnley, 6. Blake Austin, 8. Chris Hill, 9. Daryl Clark, 10. Mike Cooper, 11. Ben Currie, 12. Jack Hughes, 13. Ben Murdoch-Masila, 14. Jason Clark, 15. Declan Patton, 16. Lama Tasi, 17. Joe Philbin, 18. Toby King, 19. Sitaleki Akauola, 21. Danny Walker, 34. Ben Westwood.
Last Five Meetings
2019: Hull 12 Warrington 63
2018: Warrington 80 Hull 10
2018: Warrington 30 Hull 12
2018: Hull 21 Warrington 12
2017: Hull 34 Warrington 10
Expect a gutsy performance, but one in vain. Warrington by 10.