It’s time to take a step back and pay homage to those troopers who go under the radar. Admittedly Hull FC begin 2017 coming off the back of several awards, honours and accolades. For the likes of Danny Houghton, Ellis, Mini, amongst others it’s no less than they deserve and great exposure. Nonetheless in seasons past, there have always been the workhorses and the grafters who lay the platform for others to excel. I have identified four Black & White names who will undoubtedly offer their own, quietly consistent input to the matchday squad.
1.) Danny ‘Donald’ Washbrook: Is it America’s infamous President-elect or is it Hull FC’s Mr Dependable? Either way I know who I’d rather have pulling the strings! ‘Washy’ stands out on the list for several reasons. His work ethic is exemplary and will never let the side down in defense. Add to this an obvious desire to hone his talents and develop them and you’ve got a Coach’s delight. As a professional, it’s easy to remain comfortable at your own level but taking it to the next one requires something extra. Danny was able to do this, leaving the Airlie Birds in 2011 as a potentially good player and returning as the finished article. Our adopted ‘Prodigal Son’ showcased flashes of attack during 2016 I’d never witnessed before and it’s testament to his hard-work in training. Expect ‘Trump-tastic’ to feature on a regular basis once again.
2.) Dean Hadley: A player who is also receiving some recognition after he was handed the coveted No.11 shirt for the 2017 campaign, Dean is another unassuming member of the team. After an injury blighted start to his FC career, we finally saw the best of him last season. When I say ‘best’ the beauty of his game is his consistent performances. You have to ask the question when you see him put a foot wrong on the field? Radders is a big fan of his playing style and despite initial fears over Frank Pritchard’s exit, we are quietly confident he will take on the mantle and surpass it. The key for Hadley is to deliver big match performances on a regular basis to make that shirt his own. Add to that his versatility; ask him to play a position and he’ll happily do it. Let’s not forget his brief cameos at hooker & half-back.
3.) Jordan Thompson: The Red-headed runner spent large parts of 2016 on the periphery of the Airlie Birds starting 17 as he struggled to make his mark. Earmarked as a potential loose-forward, his strength & power go way beyond his stature and he did showcase this when given the opportunity last season. Add to that a natural eye for the try line and you have the ingredients for a player with a good all-round game. A figure who gives his all in the pack, sometimes against the odds, will need to showcase his reliability and that little bit extra if he his going to take his career to the next level. There is no doubting of his ability but application during games remains an area to work on.
4.) Chris Green: I think any FC fan would say that going into 2016, the jury was out on whether ‘Greeny’ could push on and cement a spot in the team. After a bright start to the campaign and a new contract, we saw the best of the 27 year old prop last year. With a different style to his compatriots like Taylor, Watts and Bowden, Green worked on areas of his game to deliver constant drives and a mean defense. Reminding me of a younger Ewan Dowes, he provided a neat foil off the bench next to the more explosive Josh Bowden. Expect more of the same this season as he begins to reach his physical peak.