Up the Middle #38

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 12/03/2018 – Last updated: 18/03

Saturday – Five Things 

Meh. Struggling for positives. Read the analysis here

Hull FC Salford

Friday – Woeful, just woeful 

Hull FC served up their worst performance in a long long time, going down 24-8 to Salford at the AJ Bell Stadium. Here’s what we made of it.

Report: Woeful Hull beaten at Salford

Salford Hull FC

Thursday – Injury update 

Lee Radford has confirmed the extent of Sika Manu’s calf injury, with the back rower set to be out for a month, as well as offer updates on some players currently sitting out.

“I’d like Albert playing definitely. Ironically the physio has just walked out the room doing a head test with Bureta Faraimo as well. There is a protocol for them to come back,” Radford said in Thursday’s press conference.

“You tend to leave the protocol as late you can and hopefully Bureta will pass that.

“Mickey Paea was always going to be four weeks with a fractured hand, Danny was six or seven, Sika will be three of four and Albey one.”

Thursday – Forum

Watts departure, Lane debut, young players, contract renewals and the video ref. Lots of talking points were discussed on the radio last night.

You can listen to the full podcast here

Hull FC Forum

Thursday – Watts hits back 

Fireworks? Liam Watts has responded to his off field criticism, saying he doesn’t believe there’s anything wrong with how he acts off the pitch, despite Radford labelling it as the reason for his departure.

“I’m perfect with how I am off the field,” Watts explained at Castleford’s pre-match press conference.

“It’s just comments that have been made and nobody knows otherwise. Go and ask him (Radford) what he thinks my off-field issues are, but between me and you guys, there’s no off-field issues.

“Between me and you, they can say what they want. It was me that chose this, me who chose to come here, and it’s not about Hull anymore. It’s about me being a Castleford Tigers player and I’m proud to be here.

“It’s just rugby league at the end of the day, and that’s how things happen. The club thought it was best, and when I spoke to them, I agreed. We’ve not left on bad terms.”

Liam Watts Hull FC

Wednesday – NRL return for Barba?

Without question in the top three for both special substance use and the top three players in Super League, Ben Barba’s return to the NRL in 2019 is surely a formality?

He is a class beyond our mediocre competition and could return to either the Shire at Cronulla or the Northern beaches of Manly.

Saints will do well to keep him. He’s bagged four tries already and created several others.

Wednesday – Carlos and Masi sign 

Some positives news following Watts’ exit as Hull FC announce new deals for Masimbaashe Matongo and Carlos Tuimavave.

Masi has signed a new three year contract with Carlos signing on for an extra two. See our recent posts for more info.

Wednesday – Not another one? 

Following Liam Watts’ exit, we understand another Hull FC player is in hot water, with Hakim Miloudi in a bit of trouble off the field.

He didn’t feature for Doncaster on dual reg last weekend, which follows an incident that apparently took place the week before.

Miloudi didn’t travel to Australia either, after missing out on the World Cup for disciplinary reasons with the French national side.

As far as we’re aware though, he hasn’t left the club.

Wednesday – Squads named 

Hull FC have named their 19-man-squad for Friday’s trip to Salford. Sika Manu is out, but Bowden and Faraimo return.

Jordan Lane retains his place after last weeks impressive debut, but there is still no Albert Kelly and Danny Houghton, so we can get our excuses in early if we don’t come back with the two points.

Jordan Lane Hull FC

Wednesday – Confirmation

Hull FC have confirmed that Liam Watts has left the club following a sequence of off field matters.

Speaking on the departure, Lee Radford said, “I would like to wish Liam all the best moving forward and hope he can find some consistency off the field to benefit his career in the future.

“We have some great, young, enthusiastic front rowers coming through at the club who appreciate our values and behaviours and they will benefit from more game-time.

“I’m really looking forward to watching these players progress and develop over the next few years.”

For the full story click here

Tuesday – Watts to leave Hull

The rugby league media medley have reported that Liam Watts will be leaving Hull FC.

Last seasons table toppers Castleford have been “strongly linked” with Watts with a view to an immediate transfer that will see him leave the Black and Whites imminently.

Instigated by the club, Watts has been reportedly upset about the decision, with the call coming after numerous on and off field disciplinary problems, with the final straw thought to be his sending off against Warrington a fortnight ago.

If true, and bear in mind the journos have all latched onto it like a fat kid on cake, then fireworks are imminent..

For our opinion click here and for the Daily Mirror story, click here

Liam Watts Hull FC

Monday – Wells joins Cas

Sky Sports pundit Jon Wells has joined Castleford as Director of Rugby. We’re pleased to report that the move to the ghettos of West Yorkshire won’t affect his broadcasting responsibilities. Thank God for that.

Monday – Dual Reg 

Jez Litten, Jack Sanderson and Jack Downs all played for Doncaster during their 44-6 win agaisnt Whitehaven in League One. Sanderson scored a brace of tries, and Litten also crossed over. The star again though was Liam Harris, who, and after a decent season at York as well, looks a class beyond the league he’s currently playing in.

Worth noting that Connor Bower also scored a brace of tries too. He looks to have settled really well in South Yorkshire under Richard Horne’s stewardship.

Monday – Championship Focus

London Broncos remain the only team in the Championship still unbeaten, having won their first five league games of the season. That means the Bronocs currently top the league, and look within a decent shout of causing some upsets in the Middle 8s. The only problem is the sport doesn’t even know what structure it will be playing under in 2019. If the Broncos’ efforts this year are all for nothing, then it’s nothing short of criminal. Only in rugby league ey.

Elsewhere in the second tier both Toulouse and Toronto both picked up wins, and with Leigh still feeling the curse of the Cunningham effect, those three sides will really fancy their chances of making the top four, and having a go at the mediocre sides of Super League. It will be a tasty summer, that’s for sure. Can’t wait to hear that bloke shouting ‘Laaaaaaaandaaaaaan’ again.

Monday – Super Duper League 

Its not Super anymore is it. Well it hasn’t been so far anyway.

Super League Round Five Results: Whinos 20 Hull 16 | Wire 12 Saints 30 | Widnes 16 Huddersfield 28 | Frogs 18 Bin Dippers 16 | Pies 30 Wakey 18 | Globetrotters 22 Got No Fans 8

Monday – Logan on his return 

One huge positive to come out of Thursday’s defeat was the appearance of Jack Logan, who showed some nice touches on his return.

Jack the lad has been out for what seems an enternity with a knee injury. It was a tough road, but now he’s back, and can he concentrate on his career and getting his next bite. I think we interpretate the word differently though. Alright Neil. 🐟

For the interview click here

Jack Logan

Monday – Hull FC Recap

Video ref controversy surrounds Hull FC defeat in Leeds. Just scrap it. It’s used too much and is becoming a right tedious borefest.

Review click here

Five Things click here

Headingley Leeds

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.

Issue 50

The fanzine is available to buy online, the latest our 50th issue, by clicking here


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

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