Lee Radford, Hull FC and dynasty are three words being linked together right now as the Black and Whites secured their Wembley return on Saturday afternoon.
A proud man, Radford has worked tirelessly to get Hull where they are today, and by reaching another major final his side are quickly becoming the superpower in British rugby league that they desire to be.
That statement is fully testified with what we all witnessed at the Keepmoat, as Hull ran rampant to smash Leeds in a semi-final. That left Hull’s coach delighted, as he went on to heavily praise FC’s display.
“I’m unbelievably proud of the performance that those seventeen players put in,” Radford said. “It was one of those coach pleasing performances. Everything we spoke about doing we did.
“We executed to perfection. It’s not often that happens in such an important game – the second half was a masterclass.
“Sneydy’s kicking game was phenomenal – his management was second to none. He’s been down on his performances over the last month but that was more like the Marc Sneyd we all know and love at the club.
“Liam Watts was phenomenal for us too. He played with that energy that we expect. Josh Bowden off the bench was great. He was constantly bending the line and making metres post-contact.
“Leeds didn’t do a lot wrong. I thought we was just bang at it and to do that in knockout footy was the goal at the beginning of the year.”
It’s some achievement from the side, as 1983 was the last time Hull FC managed to secure back to back Wembley trips. In modern times their most prominent trophy winning moments have been spread about, but there’s some consistency now to what they are trying to achieve.
This was a firm statement from Hull, and Radford knows the importance of it as he tries to build that Black and White dynasty by performing when it matters most.
“It’s huge – we’re going back to Wembley,” he continued. “It feels a bit different this time. Last year as a group it was new to us but this year we expected it from one another and I think that’s a great sign.
“It will put a real stamp on the competition if we can go there and win it back to back. That will put a marker down for us as a club.
“The determination has been there all year. We spoke about making sure that we come good towards the end. You don’t have to be phenomenal throughout the 23-rounds but you have to be in there. We finished third in the regular season so we’re in there. Knockout games are where you earn your pay check.
“We have 100% learnt how we approach the season. There was some losses last year that was almost the end of the world when we’ve been beaten. We’ve not taken that approach to some losses this year as in the back of our minds we’ve known what path we were on.
“Hopefully that will continue, but I must add that I had a full team to pick from, so credit to the medical and conditioning staff. To come into this period of the season and have a full pack of cards is a credit to what they’re doing.”
And finally, facing Wigan for what will be a fourth Challenge Cup final between the two clubs, Radford pulled no punches of who he wanted to face at Wembley.
“I wanted Wigan in the final – without a doubt,” he admitted. ‘There’s such history between the two clubs in finals.
“I was involved in the coaching staff back then and we didn’t turn up in 2013 and we want to write that wrong. There’s a mutual respect between the clubs with us both going to Australia. It will be some final.”