It was always going to be a big ask for Hull FC to follow up the trip to Australia and hit the ground running back in Super League.
We can blame jet lag all we like, we can comment on the absence of three key men in Danny Houghton, Scott Taylor and Sika Manu, but ultimately the fact of the matter is we weren’t good enough on the day. Australia blues? I guess you could say that. What a comedown from the dizzy heights of being in Sydney in 30 degree weather to freezing your nads off stood in a stand with a floodlight obstructing your view. I won’t miss that place when Wakefield council pull their finger out and finally get the new ground sorted, that’s for sure.
But there can be no complaints. This competition, as poor as it is, doesn’t allow you to make continuous errors, and at the start of the second half, we got exactly what we deserved. It was probably more frustrating to take as Castleford were pretty average throughout, and for a large part of the first half, we looked the better team. Consequently though, mistakes with ball in hand either side of half time gave our hosts three opportunities that they capitalised on.
A key period in the contest, Hull went from having a 8-0 lead to finding themselves 20-8 down in little under a quarter of the game. Poor ball retention and poor edge defence was to blame, in what was a performance we don’t come to expect with this team. But that’s rugby league, sometimes things don’t come off the way you plan to despite how hard you try. There were a lot of players that didn’t turn up, and that was scary. It didn’t give us a fighting chance, especially when Castleford got some momentum and started to ask some questions. Every chance we got to get back into it, we coughed up possession again. At times it was schoolboy stuff and gave us no platform to see out any potential victory.
Defensively Hull were poor, especially on the fringes as the same bad judgements and mistakes crept in. That’s a worry and it’s got to be put right soon, starting with Warrington come Friday night. And speaking of Friday, is it naive to say already, and with a trip to our frequent nemesis Headingley also in the not too distant future, that it’s a must win fixture? It could well be, as Hull don’t want a one win in five scenario and a repeat of the mediocrity of 2015. Luckily for us it’s only round three and there are plenty of opportunities to put it right. Remember the meltdown after Widnes a couple of years ago? Things panned out alright didn’t they.
But that’s taking nothing away from this particular display. Jamie Shaul was superb against St George in Sydney, but he was below par at Castleford, coming up with uncharartastic errors we don’t normally associate with him. Bureta Faraimo’s tendency to drift in off the wing also proved costly, whilst the three-quarters and several of the middles’ impact was pretty minimal. The biggest positive was the showing of Mickey Paea, who’s display was the best by far of the four games he’s had since returning to the club. Liam Watts also had his moments and Marc Sneyd was fairly decent too, but we are clutching at straws to find many positives in an inadequate display.
For Castleford Michael Shenton was very good, but they didn’t have to do much to capitalise on Hull’s fatalities. Two late consolation scores from Faraimo and Paea, after a fine opener from Sneyd, came little too late. The damage was already done and there was no coming back from it. After a fortuitous bounce saw Greg Minikin glide over, it was one way traffic. Further tries from Jake Webster, Mike McMeeken and a brace from Shenton eased Castleford home, with Hull showing little grit nor intelligence to get themselves back into it.
After three tough games on the road, two of those being on the other side of the world, maybe a homecoming against Warrington is exactly what’s required. Let’s hope so.
Castleford Starting XIII: 1. Ben Roberts, 2. Greg Minikin, 3. Jake Webster, 4. Michael Shenton, 5. Greg Eden, 6. Jamie Ellis, 7. Luke Gale, 17. Alex Foster, 9. Paul McShane, 10. Grant Millington, 11. Oliver Holmes, 12. Mike McMeeken, 13. Adam Milner. Interchange: 8. Junior Moors, 14. Nathan Massey, 15. Jesse Sene-Lefao, 16. Joe Wardle.
Cas Tries: Minikin, Webster, Shenton 2, McMeeken. Goals: Gale 4/6.
Hull Starting XIII: 1. Jamie Shaul, 2. Bureta Faraimo, 14. Jake Connor, 4. Josh Griffin, 5. Fetuli Talanoa, 6. Albert Kelly, 7. Marc Sneyd, 23. Mickey Paea, 11. Dean Hadley, 10. Liam Watts, 17. Danny Washbrook, 12. Mark Minichiello, 13. Josh Bowden. Interchange: 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 16. Jordan Abdull, 20. Brad Fash, 29. Masimbaashe Matongo.
Hull Tries: Sneyd, Faraimo, Paea. Goals: Sneyd 3/4.
Scoring System: 0-6, 0-8, 4-8, 10-8, 16-8, 20-8, 20-12, 26-12, 26-18, 28-18.
Referee: Chris Kendall
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