There are many moments we can expect to look forward to next season. As FC announced that their recruitment drive is complete for 2017, I must say it has only helped to whet the appetite ahead of February. With the core of 2016 signed and sealed for another year, peppered with some hugely talented newcomers, I’ve dug out the Super League Crystal Ball to suggest a round number of 10 things you’re bound to witness next season:
1.) Shaul tearing down the pitch from his own sticks: Got to start at #1 with Hull FC’s undisputed No.1. Having recently extended his stay until 2020, expect Jamie to start the season with a bang. Keen to end his international wilderness too, I can’t wait to see him glide past some terrified defences again. No other Fullback at the minute can rival his return running.
2.) Albert Kelly will do something mesmeric: We can’t be sure when or how it will happen but believe me, Kelly has got plenty of tricks up his sleeve. Having seen him conjure up unreal plays for a wounded Robin, his inherent creativity and running game will inevitably lead to something special. An exciting prospect.
3.) Hitman Houghton’s freakishly high standards: We’ve come to expect it and don’t we just love him for it. Don’t expect a dedicated professional like Danny to slow down. Those metres, tackles and scoots will continue with the 2016 Man of Steel.
4.) Josh Griffin’s attacking armoury: He single-handedly dispatched the Dobbins in a certain game last October and with a better quality of player around him, I have no doubts he’ll do it again. An aggressive runner but intelligent with ball in hand, I expect him to replicate the game of a youthful Kirk Yeamn. It’s what FC missed a little in 2016 and he’ll be one who will stand-out.
5.) Fonua and Michaels’ understanding is telepathic: This one could easily go under the radar but who else was relieved once Stevie had been confirmed for 2017? Fonua was explosive alone but playing with Michaels really tightened up a previously suspect right-edge. Imagine what an off-season will do for these two?
6.) Sika will hurt somebody: Tony Clubb perhaps won’t remember him fondly from last season but Sika is a vital enforcer and he has an uncanny ‘ability’ to leave opposition players seeing stars. Always playing on the edge, his ferocious approach was absorbing to watch and I’m certain that won’t change in 2017.
7.) Connor will come into his own: Who knows where Jake will eventually end up playing? Radford has suggested he will start life on the bench. I suspect he could end up getting a starting opportunity after watching him against FC for Huddersfield on their own patch last season. He will get a chance and when he does, it has all the potential to be spell-binding.
8.) Hadley coming to the fore: Handing him the No.11 shirt is a statement of Radders’ intentions for next season. He obviously sees Dean as a regular starter and expect him to be amongst the 17. More to the point he will be a pillar of consistency whenever he does get the nod.
9.) The curious case of Magic Mini: He might be 34 but he just seems to be getting better with age! A consumate professional to the finest detail, don’t expect him to let-up in 2017. There will also be several, fleeting moments when you look twice as Mark showcases his twinkle-toes as an onrushing back!
10.) Sneyyyyyyyyyyyd: This final one is a dead-cert, if you don’t hear it then start worrying!