Hull FC demolished St Helens 47-18 in the sixth round of the Challenge Cup at a scorching hot Langtree Park. Here are the Five Things Up the Cream learned.
1.. Hull FC’s away support is just incredible
There’s away support and then there’s Hull FC away support. Vocally the Black and White army were absolutely outstanding as they travelled in numbers once again.
It was a party atmosphere thirty minutes prior to kick off and you just sensed from there a special day was to follow.
The roof erupted when Hull came out for their warm up and you could see it on the players faces that a big performance was coming.
Throughout the eighty minutes the travelling army were majestic and never stopped chanting. It was unreal at times and a pleasure to be there.
With an atmosphere and song selection to rival the concourse party at the Magic Weekend Hull fans just erupted, just ask Jamie Peacock, who copped a fair bit of stick. Oldham! Oldham! Oldham!
2.. Game management was good, but it could be even better
That might sound delusional after an eight try 47 point victory but there times when Hull could have been just that little bit smarter.
The decisions to go for a drop goal before half time and penalty goal by Sneyd early in the second half were brilliant, but some silly errors still creeped in – such as first tackle knock ons from a scrum, and overplaying when there’s no need to.
Hull FC didn’t have the gave won at 25-18, and came up with a few errors that could have let Saints back into it.
Luckily the Black and Whites had a further gear to go through with some dazzling rugby league and ruthless attacking traits killing the game off.
3.. Hull FC English players up there with the best in the comp
Hull FC’s English stars are beginning to emerge as some of the best in the business right now. In a rich vein of form Marc Sneyd must be the best half back in the league at the moment. He was just terrific yet again. Kicking wise Sneyd controlled it, he had a hand in everything Hull FC did and distributed superbly.
Houghton meanwhile was immense and really showed Roby up with a domineering forward pack behind him. Danny attacked their defensive line and looked dangerous for it in another heroic performance.
With a brace of tries to his name Scott Taylor was magnificent for Hull yet again. He carried strongly and hit just as hard, but it’s his raw passion and energy that get him the most plaudits. He loves it. His reaction when he scored his first try was brilliant. He’s one of the best props in the league at the moment and is thriving with a vocal crowd behind him.
Finally to Jamie Shaul, and what a player he’s turned into. There’s no better fullback in the comp at the moment. He’s devastating in broken play and defensively he was superb at St Helens. The complete package, it’s about time an England jersey was presented to him.
4.. Attacking rugby devastating
Some of Hull FC’s attack at St Helens was just outstanding. They shifted the ball left and right and caused havoc for their oppositions defence.
Sneyd and Pryce were slick and both played expansively, whereas Houghton from the ruck was instrumental to his sides go-forward.
Forwards are becoming mobile and they are starting to distribute themselves. It’s paying dividends and adding a new dimension to our attack, rather than one up rugby league.
5.. Strength in depth just frightening
Five Things columns always mention it, but with no Frank Pritchard and Sika Manu how can you not elaborate on the strength in depth at Lee Radford’s disposal.
Of course you’d rather have all four big back rowers playing, but given the the scenario with Frank and Sika, to have Ellis and Mini step in like that is just a luxury.
Mini was brilliant and Ellis equally so. The forward pack this season is so strong with the interchanging taking Hull to another level.
There are fewer props that hit harder than Josh Bowden, who was immense again, whereas Green and Thompson further contributed to a healthy looking score-line.
Squads not teams win titles, and Hull FC are certainly going the right way about it this year.