As cliche as it is, a wins a win, and looking back in a few weeks time no-one will give a dam to how Hull FC got the two points over Widnes. We’ll play a lot better this year and lose, that’s for sure.
It was far from convincing as a 16-0 lead was blown in stages with the Airlie Birds coming out 31-24 winners. There’s obviously a realisation that we will need to be a lot better, as chances were blown to post further points on the board and some of our line speed in defence was pathetic, resulting in the Chemics, as far as we’re concerned their proper suffix, getting a role on and having a purple patch of scoring themselves.
Everything about Friday night seemed flat. The crowd wasn’t at atmospheric as it has been in recent weeks and that was the first time Hull have looked distinctively average on their own patch this year. Not sure why that was, but complacency did seem to creep in after going three scores in front. There were some cobwebs clearly being blown off. That’s the poorest Sika Manu has played for Hull in his time here but after a few niggling injury problems that was probably to be expected. It wasn’t exactly an intense game either, and he’ll hopefully be back to his old self at Huddersfield come Thursday in what is another must-win game.
We need to see a lot more from Mickey Paea too. He takes up a quota space and won’t be on peanuts. There’s a huge difference between Paea and Scott Taylor, who after returning from two flights from Denver following England duty, and then a taxi back from Heathrow, was superb again. Always gives his all for the Hull FC cause does Tag and he made numerous leg drives to bail us out of trouble. Similar sentiments go out to Jake Connor, who again was the best player on the pitch. He’s just got it all and is about as good as it gets when it comes to raw natural talent in Super League.
Announcing a new improved three-year deal for Connor was huge for the club. He’s a freak, but again the debate will continue to what is his most influential position. He started the game in the centre, before moving to half back and winning Hull the game with a try assist, faultless kicking display and a neat drop-goal. A class act.
Meanwhile Widnes to their credit were much improved. They didn’t look like a team that has now lost 12-games in a row. We say Hull were mediocre at times, but that’s because the away side won the ruck and the forward battle and got a role on. Nice to see former FC hooker Aaron Heremaia back at the KCOM again who gave another good account of himself. Ironically the game changed when Francis Cummings brought on one of his youngsters; Danny Walker, nephew of former Hull FC player Russ Walker. He was superb and proved once again he has a massive future in the sport. Joe Mellor also impressed me with his running game, but on a more sinister note Patrick Ah Van was awful and should be playing for Widnes Underbank next week. A complete liability in defence where he couldn’t catch a cold.
In what perhaps was typical Widnes they surrendered their lead quicker than the Love Island girls hand out blowjobs. The two times they got ahead didn’t last long but they’ve got something to build on here. For Hull the only positive is the result, which did bring with it two points, something that remains a necessity each game now if the top four should remain a realistic target.
What was most telling is that at 22-24 we went for a penalty goal to tie the game. Against Widnes at home. Not exactly inspiring. From that though Connor slotted over a one pointer and Bureta Faraimo, who again impressed with his work-rate and metre making abilities, scored late on.
Before that two second half Widnes tries from Sam Wilde and then Jay Chapelhow had cancelled out a Carlos Tuimavave try, as the nerves around the ground became apparent. That wasn’t always the case though. Early on Hull built a three score lead through Albert Kelly, Hakim Miloudi and Liam Harris, the latter of which dummied his way over from the scrum for a terrific try. Jack Logan was brought on in the second half, with Harris making way. Widnes’ first half tries came from Charly Runciman and Owen Buckley on debut, with Krisnan Inu faultless from the tee.
It was perhaps telling too that after an evenly matched second half that Hull’s nine point streak to win the game was also done with Brad Fash on the field. The Bullhead for me needs to be involved a lot more as what he does do is all class. His defensive contacts and carries were superb and there was genuine fire in his belly. Still buzzing he was one of the first players signed up for new deals this year as his inclusion in the match-day squad is now a given when fit. G’wan Fashy lad.
The desire for key players to return though is still obvious. Hull FC are badly missing the control and composure that Marc Sneyd brings to the side, with notable absentees Josh Griffin. Fetuli Talanoa, Josh Bowden and Joe Westerman still missing. On the injury front, we understand Jordan Abdull has signed a permanent deal with Rovers and won’t be at the club next season. Elsewhere Jamie Shaul’s foot problem persisted again and Chris Green missed the game due an elbow infection.
To compound all that, Dean Hadley also left the game with a shoulder injury. Someone needs to stop running over these black cats now. On to next week.
Hull Starting XIII: 1. Jamie Shaul, 2. Bureta Faraimo, 14. Jake Connor, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 28. Hakim Miloudi, 6. Albert Kelly, 35. Liam Harris, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 23. Mickey Paea, 21. Sika Manu, 12. Mark Minichiello, 11. Dean Hadley. Interchange: 29. Masimbaashe Matongo, 20. Brad Fash, 17. Danny Washbrook, 4. Jack Logan.
Hull Tries: Kelly, Miloudi, Harris, Tuimavave, Faraimo. Goals: Connor 5/6. Drop Goal: Connor
Hull 3-2-1 Man of the Match: 3pts Jake Connor, 2pts Scott Taylor, 1pt Bureta Faraimo
Widnes Starting XIII: 1. Rhys Hanbury, 5. Patrick Ah Van, 4. Charly Runciman, 3. Krisnan Inu, 40. Owen Buckley, 6. Joe Mellor, 15. Danny Craven, 25. Jay Chapelhow, 33. Aaron Heremaia, 8. Gil Dudson, 17. Sam Wilde, 39. Weller Hauraki, 16. Tom Olbison. Interchange: 20. MaGraff Leuluai, 12. Matt Whitley, 23. Danny Walker, 10. Alex Gerrard.
Widnes Tries: Runciman, Buckley, Wilde, Chapelhow. Goals: Inu 4/4
Scoring System: 6-0, 12-0, 16-0, 16-6, 16-12, 16-18, 22-18, 22-24, 24-24, 25-24, 31-24
Referee: Gary Dolan