Hull FC booked their place in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals with a 34-14 victory at Featherstone.
Here is Up the Cream’s Five Things column.
1. Suck then stretch
That was a right game of two halves, and before anyone gets even remotely sinister with what unfolded after the break, the first half was decent enough for Hull to comfortably race into a 34-4 lead. What was most impressive was the ease at which the points followed after falling behind early on and you can put a lot of that down to the shapes and structures Hodgson has brought into this side.
Hull mix their game up hitting both the lead and trail runners and they’ve got threats from everywhere. There’s a clear plan to suck their opposition in before stretching them out wide and boy is it working.
Five of the six tries were scored on the edges and whilst there was a bit of luck, it’s not a coincidence. Hull are so varied in their attack and are using their biggest weapon Jake the Snake at fullback to deliver the killer play. It’s such a breath of fresh air to see the outside backs coasting over the line. Long may it continue.
2. Flying Centres
Carlos Tuimavave and Josh Griffin have been the best thing about Hull FC for the last two years now.
They’re both got pace, they’re strong, mobile, and a nightmare to handle. Along with the wingers they get the sets rolling and it’s not a surprise to see them leading the way in the metre stats most weeks.
They’ve both started the season strong in defence too and that area of their game will only get better with some continuity in those who play around them.
And as for tries, well Tuimavave got his account up and running for the season with a brace, with Griffin making it four in the opening three games of the season. Those figures will only get better under a Hodgson attack too.
Griffin has already made the England training squad as well, and Tuimavave will probably follow in the Exiles (or whatever they’re called now) later in the year.
They’re the best pairing in the land. Fact. Absolutely huge to what Hull do.
3. The second half
Who else spent the minutes during half time predicting what points total Hull would get at Featherstone? 50? 60? Yeah, you weren’t on your own.
It looked like a massacre was to unfold and in truth the half time hooter for Fev couldn’t have come soon enough.
Yet they came out fighting in the second half and showed a lot of character, winning it 10-0. Fair play and all that, but from our point of view it was absolutely rancid viewing.
Hull in wet weather conditions slipped back into some of their old habits. Unforced errors came into their play and completion rates were awful. Hull become clunky. There was no composure, especially on the last tackle.
Perhaps it’s a wake up call, but it showed that despite a strong start to the season with three good wins, there’s a still a long way to go in the development of this team.
4. Jordan Johnstone
Making his first appearance of the season, Jordan Johnstone was really impressive at Featherstone.
His try was brilliant, and he kept things simple for the most part hitting his forwards and giving the halves plenty of ball.
There’s definitely a player there and a player too that Hodgson knows well from his Widnes days.
He’ll keep pushing Danny Houghton all the way, and that will not just be a good thing for the both of them, but for Hull too.
Shout out to Brad Fash, Chris Satae and Andre Savelio as well who were all excellent.
5. Half Backs
Things were going well with Houghton and Ben McNamara in the halves early on, but both lacked a little bit of composure in the second half.
That’s where Marc Sneyd is just invaluable. His game management is second to none and he is the calm head that every side needs.
He still gets loads of critics an all, and people want to lynch him if he’s not prime Peter Sterling every week, but you really do notice when he’s not there. He’s a brilliant player, who probably pissed himself laughing (like Griffin did) with what unfolded on Friday night.
In a poor second half at Featherstone, the end to Hull’s sets weren’t great with errors creeping in. Sneyd would have set that right.
Mint and young Ben ultimately did enough to comfortably see off a Championship outfit, but whether Hull can do the same against a play-off rival without both of their first choice halves is up for debate. We know Josh Reynolds is out for a month or so, making it vital that Sneyd is back for Warrington next week.