Hull FC will be looking for their fourth consecutive opening round win this weekend, as they travel to the Beaumont Legal Stadium to face Chris Chester’s Wakefield Trinity in the first competitive game of 2017.
The hosts are being backed by many to go under the radar in 2017 and have a decent season, but the Black & Whites will hope they can push on from a historic season in 2016 and once again challenge for silverware, starting with a victory.
Hull FC will have two first teamers missing for Sunday’s trip to West Yorkshire. Josh Bowden’s recovery from an ankle injury has taken longer than expected, and Dean Hadley will sit out with a hip injury. Both players are expected to be out for the next couple of weeks.
However, this grants an opportunity for fringe players and the likes of Chris Green, Jordan Thompson and Danny Washbrook. Youngster Jansin Turgut is also included after an impressive pre-season.
Club captain and former Wakey man Gareth Ellis returns from injury though after missing the full pre-season schedule.
Albert Kelly, Josh Griffin and Jake Connor will all make their professional debuts in the Round One game if included in the match day squad.
Hull FC Squad: Jamie Shaul, Mahe Fonua, Carlos Tuimavave, Josh Griffin, Fetuli Talanoa, Albert Kelly, Marc Sneyd, Scott Taylor, Danny Houghton, Liam Watts, Mark Minichiello,Gareth Ellis, Jake Connor, Chris Green, Jordan Thompson,Danny Washbrook, Steve Michaels, Sika Manu, Jansin Turgut.
Four of Wakefield’s new signings are included in the squad. Froward Craig Huby, back Scott Grix, hooker Kyle Wood and fomer Canberra half Sam Williams.
Mitch Allgood is the only player missing through injury for Chris Chester’s side, with Mason Caton-Brown and Keegan Hirst not included.
Chris Annakin also makes his return after 3 months on the sidelines.
Wakefield squad: Chris Annakin, Tinirau Arona, Matty Ashurst, Jordan Crowther, Anthony England, David Fifita, Liam Finn, Scott Grix, Craig Huby, Ben Jones-Bishop, Tom Johnstone, Danny Kirmond, Reece Lyne, Jacob Miller, Mikey Sio, Bill Tupou, Anthony Walker, Sam Williams, Kyle Wood.
Total Super League & Challenge Cup Record since 1999.
- Hull FC: 36
- Drawn: 1
- Wakefield: 10
The Black & Whites have a 77% win record against the Wildcats since they first entered Super League.
Hull FC went on an 11 game winning streak against Wakefield between 1999 and 2003.
Lee Radford’s side have won 4 out of the last 5 games against Wakefield, including all 3 encounters in 2016.
Hull FC have scored a total of 1307 points against Wakefield since 1999.
Ones To Watch?
Wakefield: TOM JOHNSTONE
The young winger and reigning Super League Young Player of the Year had an excellent 2016, and the 21-year old (Trivia: Born in Germany) will only be hoping to build his 20 tries in 25 appearances last season. For many, he is a future England international and again this weekend he’ll hope to turn heads.
Hull FC: ALBERT KELLY & MARC SNEYD
Chosen a pairing rather than an individual, because this will be the first time we’ve seen the partnership of Albert Kelly and Marc Sneyd in a fully competitive situation. It could be this what takes Hull FC to the Grand Final in 2017. We’ve needed a stand-off with a running game to compliment Sneyd, and from what we’ve seen in pre-season, hopefully it looks like we’ve found one. Kelly could haunt his former boss on Sunday.
I feel Wakefield have built a squad capable of causing an upset for 2017, and that is what we could see on Sunday. I think the Black & Whites could again win silverware this season but my gut tells me home advantage will edge a close contest Trinity’s way, and possibly catch FC out off-guard.
Prediction: Wakefield by 6