Up the Middle #37

Props? Loose Man? It’s all a bit of a myth now isn’t it. They are middles. Middle units in the middle of the park playing Up the Middle.

Every week in this blog we’ll bring you the world of Rugby League as it happens, Monday to Sunday, with the aim of grasping your attention, your bites and your vocal cords – after all that’s what we (especially if you’re a Cas fan) do best.

W/C 05/03-2018 – Last updated: 05/03

Friday – Radders reacts 

Loce this quote from Lee Radford: “Nine kids who came through our system played out there and we had a fully English spine. You wouldn’t have thought that five years ago.”

Why are we bothering with a merged Academy again?

Friday – Five Things 

Despite the frustration of defeat, Jordan Lane was superb on debut at Leeds and produced a performance that defied his rookie status. He was brilliant and has a big future on that evidence.

Elsewhere there was praise for Logan, Abdull and Chris Green, but ultimately a slow start, plus bloody technology cost us the two competition points.

For the analysis, click here

Headingley Leeds Hull FC

Friday – Video ref controversy 

If that game is not on TV then Hull FC probably go on and win the game, but it wasn’t, and therefore once again the farcical video referee takes centre stage.

The decision not to award Josh Griffin a try was mental. What on earth was going through Phil Bentham’s mind? Carl Albert had more chance of reading all of Brett Ferres texts to players wives than having an impact on the play. It was a joke, and the Black and Whites can certainly feel hard done by.

You can read our review here

Headingley Leeds

Thursday – Gameday 

Hull FC travel to Leeds in the Super League this Thursday evening. The last time Hull won there, the majority of the kids that troll us on social media were in nappies. It’s been a long time..

Heres the preview http://upthecream.co.uk/the-alternative-leeds-vs-hull-fc-preview/

Hull FC Headingley

Thursday – Masi on England call up 

Masimbaashe Matongo said he thought he was being pranked when receiving his England call up.

“To be honest, when I got the call I thought it was somebody prank-calling me and I nearly hung up. It’s the sort of prank Jamie Shaul would pull, but as soon as I realised he was in the squad too it became very real,” Matongo told hullfc.com.

“I’m very proud of the achievement, but I have to take my hat off to Lee Radford and Andy Last, who have helped mould me into this player over the last two or three years.

“It’s a mad feeling at the moment, but I’m going to make sure I enjoy it and take in all of the congratulations messages because it’s such a big occasion.

“I think it’s a good opportunity for myself. It gives me the chance to make myself known to the rest of Super League.

“With that comes a territory, because it’s up to me to make my quality known to the players in that squad, but I feel as though this is an opportunity to really push on in my career.”

Masimbaashe Matongo Hull FC

Wednesday – Referee appointments

Robert Hicks will referee Leeds vs Hull on Thursday night..

Wednesday – Can’t speck

It’s not everyday a major of a town or city resigns due to criticism of a player from a local sports team, but that’s the case for Warrington’s former chief Les Morgan after his comments on the King brothers.

He resigned after a meltdown on social media, posting on Facebook post-Hull defeat, “Who is worse, Toby or George King? You decide? It’s a pity that their parents ever met.”

Obviously this sparked a bigger backlash than our pal Neil got on Twitter this week, and now the Warrington Guardian has confirmed his resignation.

He offered to meet the King brothers, Toby and George, to apologise. Scenes.

Wednesday – Logan will start 

Andy Last has confirmed that Jack Logan will start at Leeds in what will be his first Super League appearance in nearly two years.

The outside back suffered a serious knee injury whilst playing for the Reserves, and made his first team comeback in pre-season.

“Jack Logan will come into the squad for Bureta Faraimo,” Last stated. “Jack has had a horrendous 18 months with injuries and he’s coming back into the squad like a new signing.

“Jack is mentally very, very strong now. He’s had a lot of time on the sidelines to collect himself and he’s prepared appropriately to make his return. We’re looking forward to seeing how he goes.”

Masimbaashe Matongo will also start for the first time.

Jack Logan Hull FC

Tuesday – Squads named 

Hull are missing five players due to injury for Thursday’s clash at Leeds, and there’s no Liam Watts either following suspension.

For the squads, click here

Hull FC Reserves Masi

Tuesday – Patton banned

Declan Patton has been banned for five games following his sending off against Hull. The half back caught Bureta Faraimo right round the chops, and with his feet off the ground, there isn’t much defence you can give him.

A lot of people labelled it harsh, but a swinging arm making contact with the head in this day and age then it’s only going to result in one outcome.

Monday – Watts banned

As expected Liam Watts has been banned for three games following his red card against Warrington on Friday evening.

The Match Review Panel ruled Watts’ incident as a Grade C headbutt on Dominic Crosby following his record from last season.

He will miss games against Leeds, Salford and Catalans.

Carlos Tuimavave was also cautioned for Dangerous Contact.

Meanwhile Warrington’s Declan Patton received a Grade D charge for his high shot on Bureta Faraimo. He faces an individual tribunal on Tuesday.

Monday – Testimonial finale 

Details of Danny Houghton’s finale dinner have been announced. The hooker will stage one last event at the new Hilton Hotel on Ferensway on Saturday 7th July.

The finale dinner will also be the last chance to get involved in his £20 raffle to win a trip to State of Origin in 2019 amongst other great prizes. The winners will be drawn on the night.

It will be a Challenge Cup themed event, with members of the 1982, 2005, 2016 and 2017 sides coming as guests, including the likes of Ewan Dowes, Paul King, and the legend himself Steve Norton.

Monday – Man Crush Monday’s 

Carlos Tuimavave was excellent last Friday night, putting in one of his best displays for the club, a performance which promoted a reaction from Lee Radford.

“I thought Carlos was outstanding. I think he now is up there with the best centres in Super League, and after that performance, rightly so.

“Our backs looked really impressive overall, especially coming out of our own half. We were finishing sets where we needed to on the field.”

That type of display from the three-quarters will be needed again at Leeds, with Liam Watts set to pick up a suspension after his sending off. Bureta Faraimo will be a doubt thanks to a second head knock of the season, too.

Monday – Next Up

A trip to Headingley is next up for the Black and Whites. A win is 11 years and counting, but it won’t look like come Thursday night… #WheresYourSouthStandGone

Headingley Hull FC

Monday – Trolls

Speaking of Twitter trolls, and despite the moment of madness on Friday night, a brownie point must go to Liam Watts for his ownership of one Rod Studd over the weekend.

Watts posted on his Twitter account, “When people get paid to publicly humiliate players who give their all every week to this game and put their bodies on the line week in week out is wrong. So easy to criticise from behind a phone or camera lense. Madness.”

Studd replied,”It’s not a humiliation Liam, it’s a criticism of on field actions which players sometimes wrongly misinterpret as character assassinations. I’m not slaughtering you as a human being. I don’t know you at all.”

Watts then put, “I’m fine with you criticising what I did but then don’t bang on about that being the reason for me not getting picked (by England). There’s a lot of very good players ahead of me.”

Monday – Connor not the most popular

Love this extract from the Daily Mirror today..

“Got to admire the plain-speaking of injured Featherstone Rovers star Jason Walton.

Before Hull FC’s victory over Warrington on Friday, Walton had something to say about talented FC centre Jake Connor who filled in for Albert Kelly at stand-off.

‘Biggest nob in rugby league at the minute,’ Walton tweeted.

He doesn’t qualify why but I’m guessing he means he doesn’t view Connor as a man of upstanding character and it isn’t simply a reference to the size of his genitals.”

Well played to the newspapers night editor Nigel Wiskar. You can read the rest of the article here

Jake Connor

Monday – RFL relocation 

The games governing body have left Leeds’ Redhall for Manchester, taking refuge in a new headquarters near Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium. It’s the only time they’ll ever get close to greatness, so cherish this moment.

Monday – Record for Wakefield 

Best be careful what we put here, as we don’t want another social media meltdown from certain parties, but what an achievement from Wakefield, who have won their opening four fixtures in Super League for the first time in their history.

One could argue they’ve only beaten Rovers, Salford, Catalans and Huddersfield, the current occupiers of the bottom four positions, but it still takes little away from their form. They’re a bloody good side with a bloody good coach and will be competing for the top four. Thanks for the ammo, Agent Chessie lad.

Monday – Hull FC Recap

Hull FC got back to winning ways with a 21-12 triumph over Warrington on Friday night, meaning the Beast from the East had about as much impact on proceedings as our pals over the river have on Derby Day.

Review: click here

Analysis: click here

Hull FC Warrington

Monday – Why Up the Middle?

One confused FC Forum listener (yes he was of a red and white persuasion), got a little puzzled to Johnny Compton’s term ‘Middle’ or ‘Middles’ when used in context with Rugby League.

A Middle is your middle unit, which consists of your props, hooker and loose forward. They play through, and defend, in the middle of the field, hence the term middle.

Like counting the number of tries Tom Briscoe scored at Wembley, it’s a pretty simple equation, and considering the East Hull outfits association with the Middle version of the 8s, you would assume they could grasp it.

FC baby laughing at KR baby


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About Dan Tomlinson
Founder, editor and the main man behind Up the Cream.

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