O.K. it’s over and the hordes of FC fans are now making their way back home, half way around the world, after what has no doubt been for them all the experience of a life time. Well done as well to the Club, for making it happen and to the players for a great performance on Saturday. They have all, both on the field and on the terraces been tremendous ambassadors for the British game. What a great success the last two weeks have been! All that and it seems no more injuries to report as well.
But now folks, like it or not, its back to reality and let’s just get everyone home and ready for Saturday eh? We can only hope that we can reproduce some of that form back here in Great Britain, starting as I say, at Castleford this Saturday.
Last Saturday morning I was very proud of every one of our players. It would have been easy to give up the ghost after that Wigan defeat and you know and I know, that some FC teams of years passed would have done just that. But, even when you consider the injuries we had sustained, we didn’t give an inch and we were every bit as good as the Dragons, with the exception perhaps of our defence wide out. Once again we conceded too many penalties, particularly in our own half, but the effort was there and we looked pretty proficient when spreading the ball across the line.
It’s has to be good for the team and great for the Club, I’m sure of that and what’s-more, they did us all proud!
“I’m really pleased with the effort. There were some outstanding individual performance’s today. I love the initiative by the two clubs. I’ve loved the experience and I really hope it can happen again. I’m obviously disappointed with the result but all in all, it’s been a great trip so far”, so said Lee Radford after the game and few can argue with that really, for playing through such adversity in such temperatures is tough!! And here’s a message for all of you Hull FC supporters reading this and still basking in the sunshine in ‘The Gong’; we might have been beaten but at least you can take some comfort from the fact that it’s been bloody freezing in Beverley!!!
It’s not often that I start these diatribes with an assertion that injuries in a game cost us dearly. Perhaps we are well conditioned these days, perhaps our injury management is good, perhaps we are just lucky, or maybe, usually, I don’t rate such excuses that much, but in the end on Saturday that scenario was indeed the case. In a game that, when you look back at it, we could still have won had we had a bit of luck and retained the ball better, we were hit by injuries big time.
As for the match itself, well, after going all that way surrounded by all that hype, it all came down to a game of rugby and someone in the end was going to lose, exhibition games are one thing, but when two Super League points are at stake it’s completely another. We lost and in the end, as our energy ebbed away, Wigan easily prevailed, but with a fair wind we could have undoubtedly got something out of it.
But the most positive aspect of it all is that around 12,400 were in attendance and taking Super League to Wollongong had therefore been a success. What an amazing turn out of FC fans we have seen in Australia, with the Faithful outnumbering the Pies fans by at least 3 to 1. We have well over 2000 out there supporting the lads and it’s another great example of the loyalty and passion of so many, some of whom will no doubt have made huge sacrifices to get there in the first place.
It’s just a pity they weren’t all better rewarded. Incidentally, it’s also interesting to note that the attendance was actually better than any game between the two clubs in the 2017 regular season, so well done to both Clubs and the New South Wales Tourist Board for getting that many people there.
Those were two, precious, precious points and in the end it was a good night, a fine occasion and pretty much all we could have wished for so early in the season!!
It was always going to be a bit hit and miss, but it’s all about the W in the games played column at this time of the year and if you were to describe Thursday night in a sentence, then it would be ‘scintillating for half an hour and adequate and understandably scratchy, for the rest of the game’. At one point in that first half we conceded too many yards and our goal line defence, which has served us so well, looked shaky . So early in the season it’s hard to repel sustained attack and they went Penalty, Penalty – Try, lost ball, Penalty – Try and quickly posted two easy scores in a period of play when perhaps a better team would have grabbed another couple as well. But leading from the front with some tenacious tackling when we trailed 12-4, Houghton and Co. somehow survived, rallied and eventually came good in quite dazzling fashion.
Therefore, it was job done and we flew out to the sunshine on Friday night with some early momentum and two points in the bag and, standing back from its all, I guess we couldn’t have wanted for much more. To sit there for the last twenty minutes knowing that the opposition weren’t going to win, was a nice way to ease us all into the 2018 season and in the end that’s how easy it turned out to be! What’s more, it brought two points that I believe will be priceless as a springboard for the next few difficult weeks.
Congratulations to everyone who braved a cold night to make a brilliant opening gate of 13,700 and to Hull FC in general for an enjoyable evening. I also would extend a big well done to Lee Radford, for cometh the hour the attitude was just right and the youngsters stepped up seamlessly to produce a brilliant second half lift in a game that was always going to be a potential banana skin.
Welcome Back My Friends to the Show that Never Ends……
Another year, another season, another challenge!
The morning of Thursday 1st February will dawn full of hope and expectation for every Hull FC fan. The new shirts will be out of the wardrobe, the passes will be checked, the adrenalin will be up and we will be ready for the fight, for make no mistake about it, that is just what it will be! This is a massive game for us all and one in which, if we aren’t careful, we could really come unstuck.
I know that to many people reading this, it seems foolish to describe the first game of the season as a ‘must win’, but we need points on the board early on, particularly when you consider what is to come in the next 4 or 5 weeks.
“We can go as far as we want. If we believe in ourselves there’s no reason why we can’t achieve anything we want to. We’ve got to be realistic that we have to work hard and work hard for each other, but if we do that there’s no reason why we can’t develop our season”. So said Lee Gaskell of Huddersfield Giants this week and it mirrors almost exactly a comment by Gareth Ellis at the start if our own glorious 2016 campaign. For me, that says it all really, because thereby hangs the danger in such matches; at this time of year everyone thinks that they can win, that they are ready for the fray and that this is their season.
Its certainly going to be a tough old night!
So another week and another Friendly, which will be the last one that we see before things start in earnest a week on Thursday and I for one have certainly preferred this year’s truncated pre-season.
Once again it was bloody cold at the KCOM yesterday afternoon and I know it’s hard to get too excited about such games but, I’m really looking forward to the big kick-off and by the sounds of the way that tickets are being snapped up for the game (which although on a Thursday, isn’t televised) you’re all looking forward to it too.
Those of us who went yesterday probably deserved a medal for it was another bleak old afternoon, but again we saw a really heartening performance and learned, I think, a bit about how we are going to line up and play this season. It was a great run out played in driving snow and in the end an entertaining hit up as a very big Catalan Pack took on some of our first teamers, some youngsters and several of our fringe players, before we came out with a good win.
“It might be a friendly but there’s no such thing as friendlies when Hull FC and Hull KR play each other”.
So said Jordan Abdull before the game and hundreds of stay away FC fans wouldn’t argue with that one! Can you see their point? Well perhaps you can, I guess!
It’s never easy with these games but with interest in this now regular pre-season hit up apparently at an all-time low and indeed in 2016 gates at Derby’s in general down as well, there is little doubt that such a friendly game for many is a match too far. Still it was an OK contest and an entertaining game with a great scrap near the end thrown in for good measure! Lee Radford, who was well pleased afterwards, has to decide what is most beneficial to the team’s development at any given time, for he has to ensure we get our best prepared, fittest and most experienced team out on the field for the Huddersfield game. For him, I’m sure, everything else, including a bitter local rivalry is at such times, pretty academic.
Well the New Year is here and as usual we all have our hopes high, particularly before a ball has been dropped in anger, but the season is less than a month off and quite frankly, call me greedy, but I could do with a bit more of this in 2018! But then again who couldn’t!
Great memories eh?
However, first and foremost welcome back to the Diary, I really hope that everyone had a great Christmas and I wish you all everything you wish for yourselves and your families in the New Year. Thanks for returning again to this weekly journal of a very average fan, which should at least start to perk up a bit as things start to get going in the next few weeks. The first of the pre-season friendlies is upon us and after a restful old Christmas (and before that the quietest pre-season I can probably ever remember), the Diary is back, whilst as a Club we are sort of up and running again next weekend, for what has become the annual ‘Contrived Beano’ against the dysfunctional ones from the ‘Land that time Forgot!’.
Well it’s that time of the year again and as its Christmas, it gives me the chance to pass on my thanks to everyone who has supported my Testimonial, since it started back in July.
Over the last six months my committee and I, have been amazed by the number of supporters that have turned up at our events and snapped up the books, calendars and raffle tickets we have had on sale.
It’s just brilliant to see so many people getting behind me in this special year and I simply can’t thank everyone enough. The first six months have really blown me away and been better than I could ever have anticipated and that’s all down to you the fans of Hull FC. I’m now looking forward to my Testimonial game on Sunday 14th January and to the programme of further events that will be announced in the New Year.
One of the reasons that I love playing for Hull FC is the loyalty and passion that is always show by you the supporters. You’re without doubt the best in the game by far and, over the last six months, you’ve all really got behind what we have all been trying to do. So, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you who has supported me so far.
I hope that you all have a brilliant Christmas and here’s to another successful season in 2018.
SEASONS GREETINGS TO YOU ALL!!
It’s a time of peace and goodwill to all men and at Hull FC there has at least been plenty of Peace this closed season! There has been none of the speculation, comings and goings and ins and outs of previous campaigns and for guys like me trying to write about it all, it’s been the quietest pre-season since the Diary started back in 2005. Still the new seasons not that far off now, so enjoy a bit of ‘peace’, Happy Christmas to you all and I hope you all have a great one!
With just one more Diary before Christmas (and still no pre-season friendlies announced) at least the worst part of the annual hiatus that is the closed season, is almost over.
We’ve had the World Cup to keep us amused, but now for four weeks or so at least, we have no rugby to watch at all. Still, it’s a critical time for the club in other ways and I’ll talk later about the success of our quite amazing retail operation. The fans have this week, with record season ticket sales a real possibility, queued in unprecedented numbers in the FC retail outlets, no doubt inspired by the last two campaigns at the Club. Everyone seems, I think, to have faith that after a number of years in the doldrums, the wonderful 2016 season was not just a flash in the pan and we are moving forward as a club and a team.
In a great HDM interview this week with Adam Pearson, which I will look at in depth later on, our Leader indicated that he expected big changes in the structure of the game which we have, he said, as a Club, to be prepared for. So as we approach Christmas it is maybe for a change, a steady as you go, stable and positive outlook for Hull FC, with all the uncertainty and concern for once circulating not around our heroes but rather about where exactly the Domestic Game is heading in the coming years.
Enjoy these relatively stress free week’s folks they won’t last long!!