Hull FC’s first short turnaround of the season sees them play Wakefield on Friday night, just five days on from the mental 90-minute contest against Warrington.
It’s a big game this, and it’ll be a big glimpse into the consistency of Brett Hodgson’s side this year.
That’s the challenge now; to turn up every week with the same attitude and treat every game with the respect it deserves.
Previous Hull sides in recent years have been guilty of falling away from that. Results don’t lie, and the inconsistent nature of them has been Hull’s downfall.
So far this year though Hull’s attitude has been on point. Defensively they have been absolutely outstanding, and whilst there were a few hiccups last week with what they did with the ball, overall they have been slicker, more clinical and much easier on the eye.
Still unbeaten, there can be no letting up here against winless opposition. Wakefield have struggled so far and have leaked a lot of points, but they’re a unique beast, and they can hit you hard when unexpected.
But under Hodgson, Hull have changed for the better. The defensive effort is unquestionable, with the goal this week to be better in attack too.
Better completion rates will help the cause, but we want to see Hull rack up the pressure on Wakefield. If they do that, then there’s too much quality not to get the points on the board. Again it’s all about attitude, patience too – with Friday nights game, again back on home turf, the sort of fixture that will show just how this side have improved in 2021. Bring it on.
Danny Houghton’s superhuman 85 tackle haul against Warrington was a new Super League record, with 67 coming in the original 80 minutes before the hooker made a further 18 tackles in Golden Point. Those numbers are nothing short of freakish.
Houghton carried the ball five times too, darting out of dummy half when Warrington switched off, with his quick thinking after Brown’s lose carry/offload to get the ball moving again ending up with Connor scoring a brilliant try near the posts.
Sure, there are more dynamic and better offensive hookers in the competition than Houghton, but none put in more effort than our number nine. That aspect of his game has always been incredible.
Houghton has been challenged by Hodgson this year to be more influential with the ball and so far we’ve seen glimpses. Like with every other player, the challenge is to just keep on improving.
The Lane Train
Manu Ma’u is out again so it’s likely Jordan Lane will feature in the back row again.
The Lane Train was the best player on the pitch against Warrington. His two line breaks for Hull’s tries were top quality, and you could present an argument he’s been Hull’s best player in the four games so far.
His development has been great to watch and long may it continue.
Ligi Sao returns
After missing the last two games with an ankle injury, Ligi Sao will return to the Hull side against Wakefield. Whether he starts or comes off the bench will be interesting. In his two appearances so far, Hodgson started him at prop alongside Chris Satae, with Scott Taylor then coming on against more fatigued defences. It worked.
Taylor has been in great form though, is there something in a starting nod? Is it all psychological or a load of bollocks? Who knows, but Hull have six middles here (Josh Bowden, Brad Fash and Joe Cator too) who have all played their part and who have been rock solid so far.
Wynne moves out on loan
Connor Wynne has joined Championship club York on a one month loan deal.
The young fullback has played just three times in the last twelve months, with his current contract expiring at the end of the year. Hopefully this move will benefit both parties, with Hull having the option to call Wynne back after two weeks should they desire.
Hull Starting XIII: 1. Jake Connor, 2. Bureta Faraimo, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 4. Josh Griffin, 5. Mahe Fonua, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 10. Chris Satae, 11. Andre Savelio, 13. Ligi Sao, 14. Jordan Johnstone, 15. Joe Cator, 16. Jordan Lane, 17. Brad Fash, 19. Ben McNamara, 21. Adam Swift, 22. Josh Bowden, 24. Cameron Scott, 26. Jude Ferreira, 27. Mitieli Vulikijapani.
Wakefield Squad: 1. Max Jowitt, 4. Reece Lyne, 5. Liam Kay, 7. Mason Lino, 8. David Fifita, 9. Kyle Wood, 10. Tinirau Arona, 12. Kelepi Tanginoa, 13. Joe Westerman, 14. Jay Pitts, 15. Eddie Battye, 16. James Batchelor, 17. Chris Green, 18. Innes Senior, 19. Jordan Crowther, 20. Joe Arundel, 24. Jack Croft, 25. Brad Walker, 27. Lee Kershaw, 29. Ryan Hampshire, 35. Sam Eseh.
Josh Reynolds remains sidelined with a hamstring injury. His original diagnosis was four to six weeks. This is week three and already he is back running in training. Up the Grub.
Manu Ma’u will be missing for three to four weeks with a calf tear. This is week two.
Long term absentees Jamie Shaul and Masimbaashe Matongo are still recovering from their knee injuries.
Jack Brown will serve a one match suspension.
Wakefield are missing Tom Johnstone, Bill Tupou, Jacob Miller, and Matty Ashurst.
There are five former Hull players in the Wakefield squad (Reece Lyne, Joe Westerman, Jay Pitts, Chris Green and Joe Arundel).
Last Five Meetings
2020: Hull 21 Wakefield 18 (at St Helens)
2020: Wakefield 26 Hull 27
2019: Wakefield 16 Hull 26
2019: Hull 30 Wakefield 14
2019: Hull 12 Wakefield 32
Super League Head to Head
Played 55 – Hull wins 40 – Wakefield wins 14 – Draws 1
Hull by 14 points.