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, with the aim of grasping your attention, your bites and your vocal cords – after all that’s what we do best.
W/C 18/06/2018 – Last updated: 21/06
Thursday – Rep Preview
Eight teams. Four matches. Two days. The best way to grow the sport as Origin and international rugby league hits the calendar.
To view our preview, click here
Wednesday – Matchday squad announced
Both Jake Connor and Scott Taylor have been included in England’s matchday squad for Saturday’s test against New Zealand. G’wan lads.
Wednesday – Connor loving life with England
Jake Connor says he has settled into the England set up well, ahead of his first cap against New Zealand on Saturday.
“I had a few nerves but I’ve settled in well,” Connor explained. “I don’t know many of the lads so it was a matter of meeting quite a lot of new people, but I’m really enjoying my time here so far.
“Scott Taylor has been really good for me. He’s helped me settle in a lot. Having someone there who you train with every day really helps.”
Tuesday – Faraimo happy with form
Bureta Faraimo has been superb recently, coming back into the side after suspension to boast five tries in his last two matches.
“I’ve started to settle in here now and find my feet the more I play. I’ve got a few tries under my belt and I want that to continue,” Faraimo said.
“My style of play is hard and fast, I’ve just had a few unlucky tackles that have been high and they’ve cost me. The way I play obviously has played a role in me being suspended at times this season, but none of it has been unintentional.
“Lee Radford hasn’t really spoken to me about the suspensions, but I don’t think he needs to. I know myself that if I do something wrong on the field, the boys suffer from that, and I know what I need to work on in my own personal game.”
Tuesday – Injury update
Lee Radford has confirmed that he expects fullback Jamie Shaul to be fit to face Widnes on Friday week.
Shaul suffered a foot injury that forced him off in the defeat of Wigan, but after a scan, the Hull coach was able to confirm his fitness.
The Airlie Birds should also be boosted with the return of Sika Manu and Dean Hadley.
However there is still no time frame given on Joe Westerman, with long term absentees Marc Sneyd, Fetuli Talanoa, Jordan Abdull, Josh Bowden and Josh Griffin all remain sidelined with injury.
Monday – Trouble over Toronto
Last year Barrow infamously lost one of their travelling players at the airport check in and now similar things have happened to Dewsbury, with only 16-players available to make the flight to Canada.
The Rams insist they started the Visa process in April, and had no help from the visa bureau or the RFL to hurry through applications.
Dewsbury are now warning clubs destined for Canada in the Super League Qualifers, with short notice of fixtures bound to create some problems come August and September. How come footballers never have this problem?
Monday – Connor to make debut
Jake Connor will make his England debut in Denver this weekend. UTC can’t wait to see how his Hull FC form, which has been superb of late, transpires to the international game.
Meanwhile Wigan’s George Williams has pulled out due to a knee injury.
Monday – Kiwis name squad
New Zealand head coach Michael Maguire has named seven debutants in his first Kiwis squad to face England.
Both sides travel to Denver Colorado this week for the historic clash. Shaun Johnson, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and Tohu Harris miss out. Prop Adam Blair is suspended and Jesse Bromwich, Jordan Rapana and halves Kieran Foran and Benji Marshall miss out through injury.
NZ Squad: Leeson Ah Mau, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Herman Ese’ese, Raymond Faitala-Mariner, James Fisher-Harris, Slade Griffin, Peta Hiku, Jamayne Isaako, Jordan Kahu, Isaac Lui, Isaac Luke, Te Marie Martin, Esan Marsters, Ken Maumalo, Kodi Nikorima, Joesph Tapine, Martin Taupau, Jared Wearea-Hargreaves, Dalin Watene-Zelezniak.
Monday – Got your copy yet?
Issue 56 is available to buy online, posted right through your door for £2 plus postage. The essential read for every Hull FC and rugby league fan.
Give us a try – nothing you see in the fanzine is on our website, making it worth every penny.
To view our online shop, click here
Monday – Two League’s into One
Theres a clear Northern/Southern divide in this competition. The North have something about them, whereas the South would make Hutch Maiava look good. West Wales for instance have lost all of their twelve games and have conceded 1010 points already. If they were a dog they’d have been put down by now. No good for anyone, and especially the UTC subscriber who has a season ticket there. Poor lad.
At the top Bradford and York continue to set the pace, with the Bulls, who for once aren’t asking rugby league’s community to line their pockets, leading the way by two points. One wouldn’t write York off in a winner takes all decider for promotion. If that doesn’t happen, it’ll be an absolute cracker.
Results: Hemel 8 Newcastle 56 | North Wales 4 York 31 | Workington 34 Doncaster 6 | Oldham 44 London Skolars 12 | Keighley 94 West Wales 0 | Whitehaven 20 Bradford 27 | Hunslet 40 Coventry 16
Monday – A look at the Championship
Only one thing is certain in the Championship with six games to go – Toronto will be in the Middle 8s and will be ready, along with their crowds that exceed the dross in the top flight, to scalp some Super League teams. The remaining three spots however are a lottery. Only two points separate 2nd-6th with Toulouse, Featherstone and Halifax occupying the top four spots. London and Leigh are just behind. What a race that will be.
Results: Toulouse 16 Leigh 18 | Toronto 64 Dewsbury 12 | Swinton 4 Halifax 46 | Batley 20 Sheffield 38 | Featherstone 52 Barrow 4 | London 68 Rochdale 0
Monday – Super League Round Up
The less said about Thursday’s game the better. Friday night though was a superb game, with Saints edging Leeds by a late drop-goal. Huddersfield beat Catalans again by a point after a frantic comeback. Wigan beat Hull. Meh. We know all about that. Meanwhile, Wakefield almost pulled off an insane comeback to beat Warrington. Last but not least, what an effort from Cas. Result not too bad considering they’re missing Roberts, Eden, Ellis, Gale, Millington, Watts, Springer, Clare and they lost three interchanges through injury in the game. Well played lads.
Results: Salford 26 Widnes 12 | Leeds 22 St Helens 23 | Huddersfield 26 Catalans 25 | Hull 10 Wigan 14 | Wakefield 30 Warrington 32 | Castleford 24 Rovers 24
Monday – Hull FC Recap
Hull FC lost their unbeatenhome record at the hands of Wigan, who scored a fortunate late try to win 14-10 at the KCOM Stadium.
The Black and Whites only had themselves to blame for the defeat, with dumb play and missed opportunities putting a big dent in their top four hopes, although not as bad as the dent Shaun Wane left in the Stadium car park. More thunderous than the recent earthquake, that.
Oh, and In any Kinda Weather was tested to its max again as a monsoon poured down in the second half. Ever seen rain get the crowd going? It did here. Mental.
Review: Post-Wigan thoughts, click here
Five Things: to read how good Bureta is, click here
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.