What a fantastic way to make a statement of intent; nilling your opposition to the tune of 62 – 0 is a fantastic feat. There were many aspects to the Airlie Bird’s game that was impressive. I analyse five areas that stood out in the win:
The Airlie Birds deliver complete performance:
I start with this point as it pleased me the most in that FC delivered an unrelenting 80 minute performance that was assured in both defence and attack. In previous matches, Lee Radford’s men may well have switched off in the second-half having built up a sizeable lead. It’s the type of match-mentality that needs to be embodied week to week if Hull are to win silverware in 2017. On top of that, the Black & Whites racked up an impressive 62 points with a team that was decimated by injuries as the game progressed. Josh Griffin, Mahe Fonua, Marc Sneyd and Jansin Turgut all suffered injuries that reduced options on the interchange bench, yet still the champagne rugby continued to flow.
A night for star individual performances:
While last night’s victory was crafted through some fantastic team play, several players did their reputations no harm at all. Jordan Thompson really stood out on a night when he was forced to switch to centre due to Griffin’s head knock. He ran with speed and purpose. Jamie Shaul gradually came into the game and his support play was exemplary, leading to a deserved brace of tries. In a similar vein, though he failed to score (shock horror), Albert Kelly was the architect for others to score. Jake Connor continues to shine at centre and leaves Hull with a massive selection dilemma when Tuimavave and Griffin are both fit again. Finally, how could we leave out Stevie Michaels? It was party time on the left-wing as Stevie scored a hattrick. His endeavour can never be questioned.
The youngsters are bedding in nicely:
Players such as Brad Fash and Jansin Turgut are quickly becoming household names to fans as they continue to deliver the goods on a weekly basis. Turgut seems to be reaching physical maturity and with natural ability, he’s really starting to show what he’s capable of. Brad Fash too offers something a little different off the bench. He’s not an explosive figure like Scott Taylor or Liam Watts but his solid metre-making and defence make him a vital asset in the pack. No longer are these players seen as youthful replacements for experienced regulars but first-teamers in their own right.
Versatility shines through:
Shades of 2016 were on show last night as a host of injuries caused a major reshuffle in FC’s team. Early knocks for Fonua and Griffin meant Jordan Thompson and Jamie Shaul found themselves switching positions. Danny Washbrook demonstrated his usual utility value throughout the 80 minutes. We even had a new kicker on show as Jake Connor took over from Marc Sneyd in the latter stages (who knew Sneyyyyd could miss?!) It’s that degree of fluidity that helped Hull succeed last season and it’s pleasing to see it still remains.
And finally a little perspective:
While it was a fantastic effort from Radford’s troops last night, It was evident from very early on that this Catalan team was busted before it began. 11 players out prior to the match, before losing more numbers in the game lead to a very insipid performance. It was to be expected and FC will have far harder teams to conquer if they are to return to Wembley again. However, if they can transfer the attitude and application from last night into future performances, it stands them in good stead.