Preview: Featherstone vs Hull FC

Given what happened at Wembley in 1983, not to mention the now infamous last Challenge Cup meeting between the two sides, most Hull FC fans have nightmares about Featherstone and Post Office Road.

Forget the Twin Towers and Kevin Harkin laid out on the London turf, that game three years ago, remembered for six yellows, one red and the best impersonation of the Waterboy Bobby Bouche since Adam Sandler mastered the role in the 90s, also saw Hull lose Josh Bowden to an ACL injury, plus Fetuli Talanoa and Carlos Tuimavave to long-term knocks.

It was a similar scene for Richard Whiting’s testimonial back in 2014 as well, where Hull in what turned out to be an embarrassing pre-season defeat, lost Chris Green for two thirds of the season and left with more blokes going to Pontefract hospital than on the M62 back to Hull.

No wonder most Black and Whites shudder at the thought of the place.

Three years on and one would like to say that Featherstone with James Webster as head coach are now a different outfit to the bunch of shithouses that picked on Jez Litten three years ago. 

Boasting one or two players still capable of playing Super League, they will certainly be slicker and a bigger threat with ball in hand.

They’ve been one of the Championship’s powerhouses over the past decade, and in fact were just 40 minutes away from promotion to the top flight in 2019 before Toronto went up the gears in the second half of the Million Pound Game.

They’re a good team and we all know what they’re about. 

Hull can’t take them lightly and they won’t. Hodgson knows the score and his hardworking, professional, and now resilient side will be going there on Saturday night to get the job done.

A couple of fresh injuries will see a further glimpse into Hull’s strength in depth in what is a skinny squad this year, but there is still a lot of quality amongst it.

They are tougher too. Defensively the Black and Whites have been sublime so far, with an eye-catching attack also posting the points on the board.

It’s hard to see anything but a big Hull win, but as long as we come back to East Yorkshire with a healthy side, then we don’t really care how, as long as we’re in the next round.

Josh Reynolds and Ben McNamara

Brett Hodgson confirmed on Wednesday that Josh Reynolds will be out for 4-6 weeks with a hamstring injury picked up in last weeks win over Salford.

First things first it’s gutting (and bloody typical) to lose Reynolds after such a sublime start to his Hull career, but it also presents a huge opportunity to young Ben McNamara, who will get the nod at half back alongside Marc Sneyd, against Featherstone and beyond.

Ben, the third generation of McNamara to play for Hull, had a great introduction to the first team last year, and by all accounts he has continued developing throughout pre-season. He’s a good young player with a great attitude. Let’s get behind him. 

Jake Connor England’s omission

England head coach Shaun Wane named Josh Griffin and a load of his old Wigan mates in a 35-man training squad earlier this week, but there was no place for Jake Connor.

Having been a huge part of England’s win over New Zealand in Denver, not to mention ripping the Kiwis apart again on home soil a few months later, his omission is baffling to say the least. In fact it’s complete bollocks. 

You could say it’s a big positive for Hull though. Put yourself in Connor’s shoes. You’re going to be pissed off, and you’re going to want to prove a point too. There’s an incentive now for Jake the Snake to prove old Waney boy wrong, and given the way he’s started the season, from our point of view at least it’s a pretty exciting thought.

Jack Brown

Missing the first two rounds with a minor ankle injury, Jack Brown could get his first run out of the 2021 season at Featherstone.

Brown, still only 20-years-old, is a class act and impresses every time he takes to the field. Can’t wait to see how he’s progressed under the main man Hodgson if selected.

Squads

Featherstone: 1. Craig Hall, 2. Ben Blackmore, 3. Kris Welham, 4. Josh Hardcastle, 5. Gareth Gale, 6. Tom Holmes, 7. Dane Chisholm, 9. Fa’amanu Brown, 10. James Harrison, 11. Brett Ferres, 12. Brad Day, 14. Connor Jones, 16. Jack Bussey, 18. Luke Cooper, 19. Callum Field, 20. Frankie Halton, 21. Dean Parata, 27. Loui McConnell, 29. Harvey Spence, 30. Liam Whitton, 31. Junior Moors. 

Hull: 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, 12. Manu Ma’u, 14. Jordan Johnstone, 15. Joe Cator, 16. Jordan Lane, 17. Brad Fash, 19. Ben McNamara, 20. Jack Brown, 21. Adam Swift, 22. Josh Bowden, 23. Connor Wynne, 24. Cameron Scott.

Injuries

Josh Reynolds is out with a hamstring injury, with Ligi Sao also missing out with an ankle problem. He should be okay for Warrington next week.

Jamie Shaul and Masimbaashe Matongo are long term absentees with respective knee injuries.

Featherstone are without Craig Kopczak, James Lockwood and John Davies.

All Challenge Cup Meetings against Featherstone

2018: Featherstone 20 Hull 38

1983: Featherstone 14 Hull 12 (final at Wembley)

1971: Hull 12 Featherstone 8

1971: Featherstone 7 Hull 7

1961: Hull 10 Featherstone 9

1959: Hull 15 Featherstone 5 (semi-final at Odsal)

1914: Featherstone 3 Hull 27

1899: Hull 21 Featherstone 0

Challenge Cup Head to Head

Played 8 – Hull wins 6 – Featherstone wins 1 – Draws 1

Prediction

Hull by 30 points

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About Dan Tomlinson 1639 Articles
Editor of Up the Cream. Once upon a time I looked like my profile pic.

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