The Dentist’s Diary – 511th

Out played, out smarted out enthused and alas, for once, out coached as well!

I love Hull FC to bits, I always have and I always will, but sometimes when you’re a fan you have to be honest with yourself and on Friday there was simply no getting away from it; Warrington came to the Kcom played a ‘blinder’ and completely spoiled the party. In here I can only write it as I feel it and it can’t be all happy, clappy all the time and for me in the words of Jackson Browne we appear at the moment to be a team that is ‘Running on Empty’

There can be no excuses because for me last Friday, there were no excuses.

As I walked across West Park before the game deep in thought and perhaps visibly nervous, an old guy walking beside me said, “Don’t look so worried mate whatever happens tonight, when the cupboard is opened tomorrow the Challenge Cup will still be in there!” Sound advice eh? Well maybe, but despite all that and me saying in here time and again how happy I was to have just won the Cup, you want more, you can’t help it and so I was upset at the end and I guess now looking back, I’m bloody mad with myself that I was so disappointed. You know, as a ‘fickle fan’, I have such a short blooming memory!!!

Warrington simply arrived, set their stall out, did a job on us and left with the honours and the League Leaders Shield. It’s hard to say, perhaps even harder to understand, but sadly it’s absolutely true. Whether we believed the hype about them being mentally frail, whether it was the stories about their injuries or whether it was still a hangover from Wembley who knows? But although we go to Wigan on Friday still hoping for a place in the Grand Final, to me personally at the end of that game it felt like it was season over, because the team that we watched on Friday will struggle again big style at Wigan.

Why, well for me it wasn’t the things like our structure, backing up and tackling that was the concern, they can be fixed, but the most worrying bit for me was the fact that for one of the only times this season, we were out thought by an opposition that had more energy than us. This Friday we might somehow miraculously find some drive and dynamism again and we might just get home one more time, this is a great team and anything is possible, but even history is against us on that one.

For years, before Leeds broke the mould last season, teams that have won at Wembley have rarely done much else afterwards. I wanted the Challenge Cup so, so desperately and in the end I got what I’ve waited a life-time to attain and I did it witnessing some pretty dramatic and life changing circumstances as well. But then, despite my best endeavours, I got a bit too greedy and wanted more. Why not, the media were hyping us up and the Club and our coach seemed confident we could do it? However, in front of a massive partisan crowd it was not to be and a team that we all thought came to the Kcom to be pressured and bullied into submission didn’t read the script at all and in the end out played us in almost every facet of the game.

That amazing gate of over 17,000 deserved better but as so often happens in sport they didn’t get it and the tide of fate on this occasion turned on us and in all honesty after their first early try, we never really looked like winning. It was so disappointing, a big let-down and believe me it was blooming quiet in our car on the journey home.

Of course, I along with 16,000 supporters was appalled at times with the officials, but you have to play that because they are crap every week and they certainly didn’t lose us the game. However, that forward pass for the try and the holding down under the posts were blatantly poor decisions, as were several more incidents that really riled the crowd. However, that aside there is little doubt too that when I take off my black and white spectacles, for the neutral fan it was an astonishing performance by Warrington, especially with their injuries and what happened after their total capitulation the previous week against Wigan. Even their own fans had them as ‘bottlers’ in the run up to the game, but that’s what really good teams do, they bounce back!

I certainly believed the hype last week and although from the moment Tom Lineham was named in the Warrington team I worried that his inclusion was the sort of sporting ‘kismet’ that on so many occasions comes back to bite you, I lapped up all the talk about the visitors not being mentally strong enough and about all the injuries they had. So I put Tom to the back of my mind and allowed myself to get caught up in all the expectation. For me, and I suspect a few others out there, the hubcap was ours and despite my concerns I was persuaded I guess that all we had to do was turn up and perform and it was done and dusted. I should have remembered that with Hull FC it’s never that simple.

Of course in the end we neither performed or turned up!! It was classic FC of old really and a throw-back to the bad old days when after weeks of working up to a big game, a big crowd was left disappointed.

However, Tony Smith is a great Coach, his game plan was simple in that he approached the match with some fresh legs wide out and tons of energy across the team. He decided the way to beat our rolling, power rugby was to off load on every occasion possible, particularly in that first quarter. As I said last week, teams are starting to find us out and we don’t seem to have a plan B.

I think Smith realised we were down on energy since Wembley and they had us dancing around and getting caught turning a time or two after off loads early on and you could see our energy levels flagging even then. Lee Radford on the other hand, still a real hero for our time after the heroics that have gone before, did I think perhaps make a misjudgement with his selection of our substitutes, because for me we are a better team with Washy on the bench, he can change things and inject some real energy and he and Green acquitted themselves as well as anyone at Wakefield last week, so their omission was a strange one. Why Frank isn’t playing wider where he can destroy a team that is wobbling a bit, I’ll never understand either. However, that’s just me and as one fan said to me when the team was announced what do we know about what has gone on in the build up to the game?

For me, there is little doubt that, with just three wins from 7 in the Super 8’s and those against the three poorest teams, Wembley worries and stress before the final and diminishing energy levels after it, have undoubtedly taken their toll on our final run in. As I said in an earlier Diary, perhaps we would have been in a better place had we had a few injuries and a few players had got an enforced rest, strange though that comment is.

You have to feel for players like Miniciello and Ellis who gave their absolute all, as they looked to turn the tide, but in essence despite getting back in it straight after the break, we looked incapable of stemming the onslaught as all night they simply gained more yards than us and did it in almost every set. And, when the opposition is draining your energy, the last thing you need is a ton of penalty’s going against you, particularly when some are bad calls by pretty inept officials.

He deserved so much more, ‘Man of Steel’ Gareth Ellis turned in a great showing despite the loss.

It took a massive effort from the Club to get all those people there and the pre-game with the lights and the build-up worked really well, in fact it was the best start to a match that I have seen. However, the actual ‘opera’ didn’t live up to the ‘overture’. All the hard work by James Clark and Co was probably undone when after a disappointing display, any of the newcomers who wanted to stay and applaud the players, had to watch the visitors going through all the rigmarole of the Plate presentation and the ensuing celebrations which took place as Lee Radford put it afterwards, “In our own back garden”. That was just too much for many to take, but more of that later!

Of course as always with FC fans it still had its lighter moments particularly when one wag commented near me that when Gareth Ellis lay on the ground having treatment with his chin in the air he could be stood on side, while his chin was off side! Bit harsh that I thought and I bet he won’t be saying that to his face, but I did enjoy Lee Radford ‘owning’ Gwilym Lloyd in his interview after the game, when he told him to stop asking the same question over and over again, his, “You’ve just asked me that” was an absolute classic.

The game itself was certainly a massive opportunity to build the crowd for next season but we blew it pretty spectacularly in the end. I don’t think it’s only a mental hangover from Wembley, I just think that as a team we look physically knackered. In fact, as I said earlier, although we have extolled the virtues of keeping injury free all year, in essence that means that everyone has to play every week and there is no chance for a rest. You are supposed to peak at the end of the season, but instead some super human efforts in weeks past, mean that we’ve been going backwards for a while.

We saw it in the last quarter against Wigan and last week at Wakey and again on Friday we were just a bit off it, intensity wise. At the business end of the season, when we are supposed to be peaking, we’re going downhill and losing energy fast. After months of hard work and endeavour I was deeply disappointed at the end to finish third and I doubt I was on my own there either?

However, and this is just a personal view, as for those ‘fans’ who are rumoured to have used social media to be abusive to some of our player’s families after the game; well guys, I really do think you should get a grip. Yes, we were second best and yes we all know we can do so much better but that’s sport and no one out there wasn’t trying!!

Others apparently pretty upset about it all took to social media branding the folks who left at the end before the team went around the pitch as ‘bandwagoners’, but most of those people haven’t seen what we have seen over decades and decades, they just came along hoping to see what all the fuss was about and expecting great things and so they were, in the end, disappointed as well. Sure they probably don’t get it, but it is the attendance of those marginal supporters who dwell just outside the hard core of the ‘regulars’ that will make for bigger gates and thus the difference between us being successful and us not being able to sustain a quality squad.

With just 6400 season ticket holders we need those folks to come along even if they decide to walk out at half time! OK, their commitment and feeling of belonging is frail but if they have invested their hard earned cash and indeed their faith in seeing a good performance, then they have every right to walk out rather than to have to stand and watch the opposition presented with the prize.

‘Desolation Row’ on the pitch afterwards

For me those marginal fans are so important to our success, but they are none the less different in their make-up and belief systems. Get them there often enough and they become like us, but the process is not a short one, it’s a big learning curve for them and so I think we have to put up with their perceived lack of ‘passion’ on such occasions.
In the end, be you a committed fanatic or a casual observer, it was a night that had promised much, that turned into a game to forget. Let’s hope the lads can get up for the game next week and prove me and all the other doubters wrong, although I really do feel that it is a bit of a mountain to climb just the same don’t you?

So what else has been happening? Well although sworn to secrecy, I have been trying to tell you in here for weeks that the end of the season was also to see the end of Kirk Yeaman as an FC player. Kirk has become a fixture at the club, part of the furniture and for years the first name on the team sheet. Now, with 16 campaigns under his belt he is destined to enter the realms of legendary status as he hangs up his boots and retires from the game he loves. You all know I like Kirk and a year working with him on his Testimonial a few seasons ago, introduced me to an affable guy who is a real ‘focussed individual’ on the field and an absolute gentleman off it! Kirks ability to defend and his talent for completely stopping up one side of the field wide out, will go down in the annals of the Club forever. As will I believe that very rare quality in a professional sportsman; an unwavering love for the club he plays for. His try scoring record also goes to show that he is no slouch when it comes to crossing the whitewash either. Who will ever forget his badge kissing at Wakey amid rumours that he was leaving for Rovers and the fact that he scored more tries in local Derby games than anyone else.

Of course once again, as with a couple more before him, Kirk was a bit of a ‘Prophet in his own Land’ and as such it will be a few years before his impact on Hull FC and his significance in the bigger picture surrounding the club will be fully appreciated. He has had quite an amazing career at both club and international level and he will leave a hole in the side that it will be hard to fill. With the players we have signed we certainly have some fire power lined up for next season and we will be great going forward, but when the chips are down, whether we as fans will feel quite so secure in defence as we have when Yeamo has been on duty, is a matter for serious conjecture.

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Top bloke and true legend!

Playing jabbed up all year with an injury sustained just after he returned to the first team after taking his medicine and playing at Doncaster on duel registration, it’s become hard for Kirk, for playing the only way he knows, recovery wise after games it’s become harder and harder.

It is however that passion that he has showed for the shirt and the Club that will live long and burn bright in the memory of this fan. The response he got for his Testimonial year reflected that passion and the way that the fans had taken him to their hearts was mirrored in the tremendous response he got to his special year and again on Friday night, when despite a poor showing on the field by the team the chants of ‘Yeamo, Yeamo’ still broke out sporadically across the terraces.

If ever there was ‘one of our own’, then it was without doubt Kirk. His badge kissing antics and taunting of the Rovers fans at every opportunity, are the stuff that legends are made of and that under-riding passion inspired others like Jordan Rankin to follow suit because you see, over 16 seasons Kirk Yeaman ‘Got it’. I once asked him about the rumours that circulated every couple of seasons from the East of the City about their interest in signing him and he just looked at me, rolled his eyes, smiled and said, “Well they asked”

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Doing what he loved doing!

I know some of you reading this think that over the years my consistent support for Yeamo in here was borne out of sentiment and perhaps even obsession, but for me as an old romantic, Kirk is a throwback to what good old rugby league of the 50’s, 60 and 70’s was all about. He’s a homer and a local lad who’s made good in his local team and although they were thick on the ground in the old days with players like Chris Davidson, Johnny Whiteley, Brian Hancock, Terry Devonshire, Keith Tindall and so many more, those sorts of characters are a very rare commodity indeed these days. Many players are just soldiers of fortune who move on from team to team to seek fame, fortune and trophies. As an aside too, it always amazes me how many of those actually come unstuck when they do!

Not so Kirk however, for he is, for now at least, the only person to ever play for the Club in two winning Challenge Cup Finals. Over the years I have got to know the Yeamans, Kirk, Lisa and the kids, quite well and they are a great family that are completely steeped in Hull FC. Long before I knew them Lisa would read the Diary every week and there is little doubt that it will be a steep learning curve for all of them when the day comes that Yeamo isn’t pulling on the shirt every week and doing what he has loved doing so much for the last 16 years. However, they’ll evolve and move on, but they’ll always be FC fans and always love the Club.

It looks like he will be appointed to a position within the Club and that would be fantastic for him, because he deserves to be looked after, but for now it just leaves us all to say a big thank you to Yeamo and to add that perhaps the place will be slightly more ‘sanitised and anonymous’ and perhaps slightly less like ‘home’ without him. It’s hard to explain but I’m sure many of you feel that way too. Sadly, in the modern game local born characters and one team players like Kirk, only come along a few times in a generation; if you’re lucky. The game moves on, it always does and so do we. As fan we’re used to seeing players, coaches and indeed owners come and go. Some you lament and some you are quite pleased to see depart but in Kirks case we are about to see the passing of a hero, a fan who actually played for his team and as the years roll by the record will show, a legend. Good luck mate, thanks for the memories and ‘live long and prosper’ because no one deserves to do that more than you!

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I’m indebted to reader Kevin Horsley who sent me this pic of his lasting reminder of the greatest day of his life!! Top stuff Kev; much braver than me!

A five player long list for the Man of Steel accolade and three of them hail from FC!!! When that was announced last Wednesday it was yet another of those ‘will I be waking up in bed any time soon’ moments that have occurred so many times this season. It’s hard to believe that joining the obvious talents of Chris Sandow and Danny Solomona where Marc Sneyd, Gareth Ellis and Danny Houghton and when you look back over the years at what has gone before then that situation is simply unbelievable. Marc has been an absolute revelation and how good it is to have it confirmed that after years of craving some direction from half back we have one of the top two exponents of that position on our books!

Then there is Gareth Ellis who just 12 months ago was talking about how he was going to fight back from a crippling injury that would have finished off many a great player of his age. Remember too that he was doing that, whilst all the while those ‘in the know’ said that was it, his career was over and he’d had it! The fight of the man off the field as well as his passion and effort on it are the mark of a true man of steel as well.

Then of course there is ‘little’ Danny Houghton. Much maligned by some last season as not being able to pass the ball and a guy who let’s face it could have been away to a top British Club or even the NRL years ago (and would have been too, had he listened to the knockers). Danny’s a Hull lad and showed recently when he re-signed for three years that all his ambition is built on staying with his home town Club and winning stuff here.

Lee Radford too must receive some reflected glory from that Challenge Cup win and indeed those two nominations and he encapsulated the whole thing so succinctly when he said on Thursday, “Three years on the bounce I’ve been to the Man of Steel awards and I’ve been so envious of the coach of the year winner, the teams going up and collecting team of the year, and the Man of Steel winners – and in my period in charge we’ve had little mention. You’re sat in the corner on your own like the kid who gets picked last at school for the football team. To be up there amongst it this year is what we’re striving for; we want to break the big four season in, season out”.

I don’t know about his personal chances on 3rd October, but as a bloke who was having a go about Lee last time this year I’m past all the humble pie eating now and with that quote about the kid and the football team he’s my Coach of the Year already!! What’s more this season he has proved quite emphatically that he is in the end a fan too!

However, with the Challenge Cup in the cabinet, having beaten the top Super League Clubs to win it, been top of the league more times than anyone else in the regular season and after being at number 1 after 23 rounds as well, (plus considering too the distance we have travelled as a team in just 12 months), Hull FC must be at least in the running to be ‘Team of the Year’ whatever happens now surely?

Now while I’m on about our Coach, “How Bloody refreshing” I thought this week, as I read of Lee Radford’s comments about that man Phil Clarke at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday. Lee said, “It makes me laugh when you hear people like Phil Clarke on television saying we’ve been lucky with injuries this year. I can grasp the collision injuries, where there’s not a great deal you can do, but with the soft tissue injuries, we’ve not been lucky. If the people who say we’ve been lucky would care to take an afternoon and come down to see the work that goes on with our strength and conditioning staff, they’ll see it’s not good luck it’s hard work by all the staff. Without a doubt, Paul Hatton has been one of our best signings of the season.” I have in here over the weeks, as you all know, marveled at the work of Paul and our conditioning team, although there might have been an element of good fortune with the lack of straightforward collision breaks and their subsequent injuries, I was getting sick and fed up of Phil Clarke harping on week in week out on Sky about how lucky we were ‘with injuries’ this year and seemingly attaching all our success in 2016 to that one factor.

He’s turned out to be a real dick really and one that not only bangs on about that, but also gets real ‘bees in his bonnet’ about other issues that obviously embarrass the other pundits and commentators on Sky Sports. He seems to want to be controversial for controversies sake. Controversy for controversies sake is simply not needed, but should, I think, be substituted with honest appraisal, fact based assumptions and some bloody common sense! Why do they have to do it eh? And well done to Lee Radford for outing Phil Clarke in the media too! Mind you when I watched Fridays game back I switched the commentators off altogether I thought they were all pretty awful towards my team, something that was borne out by reader Brian Chapman in Spain who described them in an E mail as “…bias, prejudice and downright insulting” which wasn’t far from what I was thinking as well!

Well I know that the club have been trying hard to keep any speculation or announcements about confirming the fate or indeed future of out of contract players like Michaels and Abdull and youngsters like Harry Tyson-Wilson on the back burner until such distractions can be announced after the final game of the season, but with a year left on his contract it was interesting to read last week in the League Express that we are to release youngster Callum Lancaster as well. At just 19 Callum scored eight tries in just five Super league appearances when he burst onto the scene in 2014. But, the talented 19-year-old has played only one Super League game for the FC this season against Warrington at home last Easter. Hull KR came sniffing around as they usually do and before the 2015 season he was given a 3 year deal which it now looks as if we are to pay off one year short of it coming up for renewal.

I expect our green eyed neighbor’s will be in for him again, but we have to trust Lee Radford and Motu Tony who have certainly not let us down when it comes to getting the best out of our salary cap and who knows what they are planning or have already done with his wages. Rumors abound amongst the fans and they are split between us clearing the decks to re-sign Steve Michaels and us chasing another half back, but it looks like we will use our one quota spot left to get a deal for Stevie Michaels over the line this week.

How good it was to see the Club now giving each player a 4 digit number before their name on the team-sheet of the 19 selected for Fridays game. Of course those numbers are the player’s listed in order of them signing for the Club as at last a quest to put this in place, that has been a long running project of Bill Dalton the Club statistician, seems to have been successful. Indeed, what a great development it is that now every player who has ever played first team football for Hull FC has their own unique heritage number.

Who’s a naughty boy then?? Well according to the Love Rugby League web site it is a rugby league official who allegedly recently exposed himself to a female member of staff? This ex-player, who starred in both the NRL and Super League, is in hot water because of this brain storm. His career in the game could be over; they say! Let the guessing game begin eh? While we are in the rumour department too, whispers have come to me that Super League naming rights partner First Utility is pulling out of its sponsorship. Apparently its between betting brands Ladbrokes and Betfred for naming rights next season, but they are wanting an exclusive betting deal across the competition which is really upsetting some clubs who have their own betting partners.

My piece about the legend that was Mick Scott the other week certainly got a lot of my fellow old timers talking, especially (with thanks to) Chris Walker who wrote to me about it. Several stopped me on Friday to discuss some of the other great forwards we had in the team back in the 50 and 60’s. Harry Peterson who I used to live near in Airlie Street as a kid asked me to feature the great Jim Drake who was his big hero who passed away in 2008. If Frank is the ‘Tank’ then Jim was the ‘Jugganaught’ and I saw him play in the last three years of his time at the Boulevard when he was still a good player, but what a hero to my Mum and Dad he was!! Jim was one of the cornerstone members of the great “Panzer” pack that terrorised defences across the league in the golden fifties! When I watched him he was still a great forward, but in the mid 50’s he was a legend down our street!

Jim, who would always tell you that he was the elder of the Drake twins and then add “By ten minutes”, made his debut two years before his brother Bill too, in1951, after he had signed from the York amateur outfit Heworth. Hailing originally from Cumbria, he actually signed as an 11 stone full back, before our Coach moved him to loose forward. Jim was then struck down with a reoccurrence of the rheumatic fever he’d battled when he was very young, and missed a whole season when many fans wondered if he would be able to continue at all. If there was ever a case for ‘eating to get better’ Jim appeared to condone it completely, because he returned after a year on the side-lines weighing an amazing 17 stone and was immediately put in the side at prop, which was his making and the position for which he was to gain all his fame and eventual legendary status.

He struggled to play on at first, after he continued to be told by the doctors that the fever would render his RL career over. Jim in fact made only a few appearances in the first team at all in the next few years. However, in the 1956/57 season he got his place back on a regular basis and soon became a cornerstone of the great pack we had back then. He shed a couple of stone but was still, despite his weight, a fast forward. The pack back then featured Johnny Whiteley “Tommy Harris, Mick Scott and of course his brother Bill. My Mum who was a big fan of both the brothers always used to say that, “Bill used to wind ‘em up, and Jim would finish em off”.

Mally Richardson in the Mail commented about the time that Jim and an Oldham player were sent off and then banned for 10 games each for afterwards fighting in the dressing rooms. What a sight that must have been. Apparently both players had a punch up at a scrum and then exchanged punches as they left the field, this continued down the tunnel and in the end the stooling wall between the dressing rooms collapsed under the weight of the two forwards, as they continued to fight it out!! Well that’s how the legend goes anyway! He was always renowned for finishing any barney’s the opposition started because Jim was a real hard man, but boy he could play a bit too!

Of course the hard man stuff was just a side to his play, and he will no doubt be remembered best of all for a wonderful ability to power through the line before galloping away from the oppositions backs and forwards. That was, even back then, quite a feat for a 17 stone lad!

Even when back in the first team, ill health still dogged Jim and he missed one Wembley and one Championship final because of injury, but he still amassed 243 appearances in the ten years he played for the club. What a great record that was from a true servant to Hull FC, who had his fair share of adversity. It is a little known fact that he was brilliant goal kicker when he came to the FC from Heworth, but being a forward he never got a look in, because back then forwards simply didn’t kick goals! However, in the 1955/56 he managed to kick one solitary conversion which still stands beside the 38 tries in his proud record.

His worst bit of bad luck though came in 1958, when a season of tremendous power breaks in every game he played, saw him selected to tour Australia with the Lions only for him to have to withdraw with a reoccurrence of a knee cartilage injury. This injury was the one that ironically had, in his earlier career, stopped him taking up soccer instead of Rugby League. He was invited as a very young man to have a trial for Heworth, when he received the original injury and this at a time when he was about to have a trial for the Yorkshire Boys Football team. Disenchanted by not being able to play in the trial his best pal back then, Norman Hockley, who also played for Hull FC, persuaded him to take up rugby, he played for the York club, got a trial for Hull, and the rest as they say is history.

At the height of his career he was described by one RL scribe as, “A player of tremendous strength and ability with the ball in hand, who without it often overstepped the boundaries of legality”. In an era of “Fat” forwards, Hull’s mobile pack was something of an enigma, and the envy of many other clubs. Those other teams had massive forwards who were woefully lacking in any sort of pace, while at Hull, coach Roy Francis had developed a team that was really big but fast as well. It was many believe the harbinger of modern rugby league. However, big or small fat or thin there is little doubt that Jim mixed it with the best of em!!!

After 10 years of loyal service and some tough years of injury Jim received a benefit, and my Dad was on the organising committee. It raised £400 and shortly after that he moved on to Rovers where he helped Colin Hutton’s side’s resurgence back to a force in the game after years in the wilderness. This soon saw the Dobbins finish above us for the first time in well over a decade!

Jim sadly made only one test appearance for Great Britain against France in 1960 and by 1961 he was gone to the old enemy. However, he will always be remembered with great affection by anyone and everyone who attended the Boulevard between 1951 and 1961. He was a real hero and although he passed away earlier this century, his family and friends can all rest assured that his memory will live on long after he departed, well it will with all the aging fans I know! Jim was a fine, fine player in the true tradition of a ‘tough as teak’ prop forward. Great memories of a great, great hero!

Well were off to Wigan on Friday after no doubt a few days licking our wounds and perhaps even getting the sun tan oil and the Budgie smugglers packed and ready to go, because this weekend is make or break for the team and perhaps the only thing that separates them from their holidays. The thing is of course with 80 minutes of rugby to go anything can happen. Nobody will be thinking about last Fridays defeat if we are walking out at Old Trafford and indeed if we can complete the league championship and cup double, something we have never done in our history.

However, we shouldn’t make any bones about the fact that it’s a massive ask and as well as some players upping their input energy wise, we will need the likes of Marc Sneyd, Danny Houghton, Scott Taylor and Jamie Shaul to up their games and for some of our decision making in attack to be vastly improved. We certainly can’t afford another slow start either. However, I’ll leave you with this thought; if Hull FC perform to their best for the full 80 minutes then we’ll win. It’s a really big ask I know and one that is also of some concern when you pose the question, have we yet performed for 80 minutes at the top of our game this season? Because I don’t think we have, with perhaps, Saints away in the Cup being probably the nearest we have got!

A place at the Grand Final is still in our hands so let’s hope the boys can deliver one last time to get us there. Fairy tales do still happen at times in Sport, just ask Danny Brough!

Talking of Mr. Brough and his exploits on Saturday, on Sunday morning at the Gym at around 8-00am I spotted a guy at the other end of the running track. He’s always there in his Rovers training top and we never speak, (although I do at times titter as I pass him!!) On Sunday he scowled at me in my Hull FC top and I just looked down the track at him, before miming a perfect drop goal attempt towards him. No bloody sense of humor those Dobbins!

Thanks for reading another Diary and apologies for the attempt at some honesty after what I though was a really under par and disappointing performance. As someone once said, I’m sad, hurt, angry and disappointed. But you know what? I’ll put on a smile and move on, it will hurt, but I will survive and anyway as the old guy said on Friday ‘That Challenge Cup is still there in the cupboard!’

Bring on Friday and one last massive effort!!!!

Try to Keep Believing!

Faithfully Yours

Wilf