Tedious, stale and uninspiring, Hull FC and in-particular Lee Radford will be glad to see the back of pre-season, as they suffered their third defeat in four games, with Salford earning a 18-6 victory at a cold and bitter AJ Bell Stadium.
The Black and Whites fielded the majority of their desired starting thirteen, a line up many predicted would see off their opposition, but they found life in Greater Manchester hard to come by.
Managing just the one try, Hull’s attack was far too lateral, and struggled to penetrate a pretty resolute Salford defence. It was laboured and seemed forced, sometimes needlessly so.
On the contrary the Red Devil’s played some good stuff themselves and deserved their win. They got a friendly reception from a decent Hull following, who weren’t forgetful in showing their appreciation for Salford’s part in Rovers’ relegation to the Championship last season.
Michael Dobson took the official Man of the Match award, but Robert Lui was dangerous throughout. The half back duo showed examples of a partnership that has blossomed in the winter, with an expansive philosophy once again at the forefront of their attack.
Both sides showed a desire to promote the ball early on, but as the contest matured, that somewhat diminished. The game became slow, as pre-season fatigue kicked in, making the ruck painfully slow, something the whole Super League competition really needs to address.
It took over twenty minutes before the first try of the afternoon, with Junior S’au, who had a solid game throughout, opening the scoring. Gareth O’Brien, who enjoyed a heroes reception from the away crowd, converted for a 6-0 lead.
George Griffin soon coasted through under the sticks after Hull originally repelled some Salford pressure. They couldn’t respond anything to the scoreboard though as errors crept in, with the home side taking a 12-0 advantage into half time.
Not much changed after the break. Hull’s completion rate was abysmal but amongst that there were some positives. Jansin Turgut was superb and his work-rate was high throughout the contest. He competed well, tackled strongly and played the loose man role really confidently, by both passing and driving the ball in.
Marc Sneyd was also terrific and showed some moments of genuine class, non more so than from his kick for Steve Michaels’ try. Elsewhere he ran at the line and showed he’s much more than a kicking half back – something his qualities cannot be limited to with Hull’s spilt half philosophy.
On the other flank Albert Kelly had his moments and always looked dangerous, but that was as good as it got on a stale afternoon.
It was an error strewn performance but not one that should define Hull ahead of the Super League opener at Wakefield.
It’s pre-season after all and it really told. A late Josh Griffin error was punished by Kris Welham, with Dobson completing his sides victory by adding the extras from the tee.
Hull Starting XIII: 1. Jamie Shaul, 2. Mahe Fonua, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 4. Josh Griffin, 5. Fetuli Talanoa, 6. Albert Kelly, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 10. Liam Watts, 21. Sika Manu, 12. Mark Minichiello, 25. Jansin Turgut. Interchange: 19. Steve Michaels, 20. Curtis Naughton, 16. Jordan Thompson, 17. Danny Washbrook, 14. Jake Connor, 29. Masimbaashe Matongo.
Hull Tries: Michaels. Goals: Sneyd
Scoring System: 6-0, 12-0, 12-6, 18-6
Referee: Robert Hicks