The Dentist’s Diary – 585th

DEFEATED, BLOODIED AND YET UNBOWED!!!!

We are out of the Cup for the first time in three years and so the incredible journey is ended, but it concluded with a fittingly incredible finish.

We have had some unforgettably happy moments of late and now in the cold light of ‘the morning after’ we have to learn to ‘meet with disaster’ and accept it humbly.

The passion within our Club from the owner at the top, right through to those at the bottom, is simply staggering and not a little humbling, we already knew all about it, but on Sunday that amazing culture was set out for all to see on national TV; OK we lost but ain’t you proud to be an FC fan?

However, you can’t just be proud of a display like that, for there is so much more to it, and yet no doubt for you, like me, it’s not possible to animate just how you feel, because it’s impossible to put it into words. As the final hooter went I was gutted and in tears, because I guess if I’m honest I could have accepted it better had we been blown away by massive favourites St Helens, but the sheer guts and wanting to keep hold of that trophy was exemplary in every department and perhaps deserved more. Yeh, our discipline was off at times, and trial by TV played its part again too, however no excuses, because we wanted it so much and that unique spirit of 2016 was there for all to see, even in defeat.

Of course it’s all about winning and the plethora of fine words about us from the opposition players and Coach are all very nice, but will not linger for long, as the Saints go marching into the semi-final and we try to pick up the pieces and face Salford on Friday.

But for old timers like me, it’s about the buzz I still get when I realise that I’m associated with that ethos and that philosophy. For it displays such a will to succeed for the fans, through a real never say die attitude from everyone who pulls on the shirt. Decades of watching a team that has been at times stuffed with the “We’re only here for the beer” boys, have taken their toll on this fan, but boy we have some strong characters at our Club at present don’t we? Our coach did a terrific job in the week and everyone’s ‘head’ was just right and our game plan spot on. Perhaps ironically it was our absolute focus and will to win at any price, that cost us with those sin-binings.

Friday is now another day and we have to get two points against Salford, but if those FC players are feeling anything like me at present, I wonder how we will ever get ourselves back up for that game. Proud yes, gutted yes, but glorious in defeat? Abso-bloody-utely!

We are out of the Cup and the trophy that has been ours for two years is now to be allocated elsewhere. But, you know those back to back Cup wins will live long in the memory of all of us, who now have to get used to the dream being over, as (with all the pitfalls and problems we have at present), the reality becomes an imperative to rescue something from the rest of the season.

Before I go into the detail of the game itself, I need, I think, as an ordinary fan, to put events into the context of the lead up to the match and how I felt about what was as big an ask as we will ever have as a Club.

The trip to Saints that was made by the Faithful on Sunday was always going to be as big a challenge as the Club had faced for years. Everyone in the game was expecting us to lose and a victory would quite simply have been up there in the top ten moments in most fans watching careers. However, for a competition that has caused us such heartache and depression over decades and decades, the Challenge Cup has, for thousands, become such a shining icon of cherished memories, memorable experiences and sheer unadulterated happiness.

All that said, when looked at in context, despite numerous tough games on our way to those two Wembley wins of 2016 and 2017, never have the odds been so against us as they were this Sunday. Some travelled with hope, but many including some of the most black and white biased amongst us, gave us little chance at Saints. That’s how big a task we faced as the FC Army traversed the Pennines on Sunday, with nothing much more than a sense of absolute loyalty driving them on.

In the end it was to prove the anticipated insurmountable hurdle and yet the tenacity and belief we know exists in the current FC camp was still a basis for hope. The Coaches, players and fans had to at least believe we could do it, but we all knew in our heart of hearts that realism was biting much more than the possibility of a very unlikely success and yet in the end we came so close.

OK, there were a couple of times last week when I awoke deep in the dark watches of the night and wondered if perhaps we could pull it off, but they were only fleeting thoughts. Instead it was easier to dream of going over to Lancashire all guns blazing, with Sneydy and Albo, Talanoa, Westy Griff and Carlos all primed, fully fit and ready to defend the trophy and to watch us pull off a miraculous coup, against the competitions form team. However, in real time, circumstances dictated that for most of the week I just couldn’t see how we could prevail and indeed I just wanted it to be done with.

Over the past 7 days the strange stories surrounding Tumavive and Albert Kelly led me to believe that perhaps we had moved our training base from County Road to Lourdes with minor recovery ‘miracles’, unfolding around us as the week progressed. However, I really worried about all that ‘Risk and Reward’ business that Lee was talking about to his conditioning staff, simply because for me, over many seasons, we had seen players rushed back in with disastrous consequences. However, a big hand for our Coach because he took the decision and what might have been a bit of a gamble actually paid off with almost amazing results. The problem then was that other key players who started fully fit, were injured during the game!!

Some fans I heard from, despite still harbouring a lasting love affair with the Cup, perhaps wanted us to air on the side of caution with Carlos and Albo, for there was always the reality of big battles in the League to come. However, all the rhetoric about recoveries and late fitness tests coming out of the Club was in the end nothing more than a distraction and perhaps as the game approached, my only real hope was that a usually focussed and unruffled Saints side would take us lightly (and I mean lightly) having absorbed the media’s almost obsessive approach to our unbelievable injury demise. That being some peoples only hope, just went to prove how highly those odds appeared to be stacked against us.

So it was, that 80 minutes separated us from continuing the dream and the prospect of a season when injuries might perhaps dictate that we fade quickly from the chance of winning anything at all. Yet no one told the players that and what a heroic and magnificent effort they all put in. After that showing, you cannot fail to be proud of our team can you?

OK we shouldn’t have gone 10 behind in that first quarter at all, we were a bit loose at the start, but I knew we could come back and more concerning for me was the fact that we lost Hadley early on, as he rolled his ankle with not a Saints player near him and so our bad luck with injuries continued. That almost instantly unbalanced a team lacking ‘apparent bad boy’ Westerman who was not included in the 17. But, despite trailing, we came roaring back and the Kelly try was magnificent and typical of the little master who can turn a defensive line inside out with just a shuffle. How good it is that he is ours until 2020. Then came the great Green effort which never looked on and in fact gave an answer to some of us who have criticised him at times over the years.


A Great first try

Danny Houghton was then dispatched to the sin bin when, as Hull players piled in from behind him, I couldn’t really see what he could do to avoid where he ended up in the tackle, and then Washy who I have to say is getting a bit too petulant for his own good these days, went off for something that 9 times out of 10 would have just seen a penalty awarded. Of course they would score whilst we had 2 players off the field, but when we had possession I was still impressed by our speed around the ruck and the wanting every player showed with and without the ball. At half time I still thought we had a good chance even though we were 10 points behind. Connor and Kelly where the key and they had to get more into the game I thought, because at times perhaps our forwards saw the ball too much at the Saints end, but what do I know as Taylor crashed in for a great try.

So we battled on and Matonga was then binned for ten minutes. That was harsh as it was for something that was just over zealous and again based on the wanting everyone in black and white was showing. But what a show we were putting on as we even had a bit of a disagreement between ourselves as the passion ran high as acting captain Taylor and Kelly had a go at each other over a kick Kelly put up at the wrong side for the chasing players. There is little doubt that if we had a flaw on the day, then it was with our kicking which was as poor as it has been for ages. However, in times of adversity new heroes often stand up and I thought Miloudi was doing really well under the circumstances. He seemed to agree with me, as he scored a great try, doing amazingly well as he got inside the Saints defender to grab the ball and dived in.

There were still chances but we just couldn’t get there, before a tired Kelly strayed too far forward and a knackered Shaul let the ball go to him, we were out on our feet, the Cup was lost and the great journey was over. But if it was to end, then what a way to end it. Lee Radford said straight after the game, “We had nothing left in the end and sometimes as a coach that’s all you can ask for.’ Ditto for us fans too Lee. The sight of most of our players slumping to their knees as the full-time hooter sounded told the story of as big an effort as we have seen this season.


Great Afternoon ‘Mr. Hull FC’ Scott Taylor will be hurting as much as all of us lot!

Trailing 25-22 and desperately seeking the try that would keep our dream alive, we didn’t even have any right to still be in the contest but we tried everything to keep the ball alive in those last few seconds. Considering we had received three yellow cards, (and so if you like been a man down for 30 minutes of the game and in fact defended for nine minutes with just 11 men towards the end of the first half) and had lost three key players to injury, we should have been simply over-run by the most dominant side of 2018. Had Sneyd played we would have won it as Lee said afterwards that it was our kicking game that in the end let us down as he commented, “For all the Marc Sneyd knockers on radio shows and phone ins, eat your words. Marc puts the ball where we need to put the ball. We didn’t kick the ball well at all today.” But that apart, it was Saints that were hanging on and them that were desperately scrambling to tackle us, because that’s how good we were!

As for performances well how can you pick anyone out, because everyone was magnificent, the effort was exemplary and it would be wrong to nit-pick about flaws and mistakes either instigated by passion or fatigue. The players were outstanding as were those who attended and strained ever muscle to sing the boys home. They created a great atmosphere and often out sung the fans of the Saints.

Now we move onto Friday which is going to be such a big ask in a game that I think might just be one too far, against a Salford team who sat with their feet up this weekend watching as Houghton, Manu and Hadley were all added to the injured list and unlikely to play. Add to that the mammoth job that Lee has in trying to get them back up for the important League hit up and he must, like us lot, harbor that thought in the back of his mind that for Hull FC at least, things in 2018 just seem to get worse and worse.

So to the rest of the week and last Bank Holiday Monday, was a quiet day for most people and certainly a quiet day for news, that made it a day for strange interviews in the local media. There was Rovers Coach promoting his ‘curved balls’, Dean Hadley talking with some detail and at length about Miloudi’s biting incident, but there was none more unusual than the article by Gareth Ellis where in the Yorkshire Post he stated that he was about to return to playing in the Warrington game, before a chat with Kirk Yeaman made him change his mind and now he had decided to stay retired! Man that was a strange interview! Our former captain and all time hero admitted in his weekly column that he was preparing to play in last weekends loss but then changed his mind.

The 36-year-old stated in the revealing interview that he had a chat with Yeamo, who he said was not going to now play on himself, (despite Andy Last hinting last week that he would return at Saints), and that talk persuaded, it appears, Gareth to not return as well. I don’t know why it was necessary that Ellis did make a come-back anyway myself, let’s face it we weren’t exactly low of forwards were we?

I spoke to the Yeaman’s this week and it pretty apparent that after just a couple of days training and being retired for 18 months, it took a tremendous effort for Kirk to stick at it for 80 minutes against Rovers, but the physical strain on his body was just too much and I get that completely.

The thing is no one knows how hard it is to get your body back up to the rigours of playing after an enforced break after injury, never mind after you have been retired for over a year and a half and as our coach commented, “Yeamo couldn’t even walk properly for five days after the Derby”. Although you think your keeping fit the reality of the impact and the stress related with playing such a competitive game is phenomenal. Kirk came out of the Rovers game well and truly banged up and battered and even sporting the mandatory black eye, but it was an amazing effort just to stick it out for 80 minutes in Newcastle. He stepped up and helped us out and that spoke volumes for his tenacity and loyalty but it was just an isolated ‘swansong’ which left its mark and I don’t expect we will see him in the irregular hoops again. Nor apparently will we see Gareth Ellis either.

The early arrival at County Road of 2019 signing Lewis Bienek from London, was one I certainly didn’t see coming. We snared the much coveted player a while ago and then loaned him back to London for what we all thought was the rest of the season. Then he returns, but not to play for us, but to be sent straight out to Donny on Duel Registration. It was a strange one indeed, especially when the Bronco’s Coach said this week, “We would have liked to have kept him for longer but his lack of game time would only hamper his growth as a player. Hull FC are, however, happy for us to loan him back later in the season should we need him. The Super League Club have since told us that he will be going out on dual registration to Doncaster in League One for a month to get the game time it is felt he needs”. Radford however was more succinct in his view on matters, when he said on the Club web site that Lewis would deffo be returning to London in 4 weeks’ time.

Stranger and stranger I thought, however what crossed my mind is the great relationship we have with Doncaster and of course their Coach Richard Horne and that perhaps quite inadvertently we have let them down a bit of late. Of course injuries are not planned and certainly not our fault as a Club, but the conspiracy that surrounded Liam Harris leaving Rovers to sign for them with the long term intention of him eventually becoming an FC player some-time in the distant future has been scuppered by our parlous current position with injuries. In addition, not only have we signed Liam but we have also not been able to loan them anyone on duel Registration, as every fit man on our books is currently on first team call at the FC.

However, it might just be the case that in signing Harris (who has been training with us for months) we agreed to help Donny out by bringing Lewis back and then loaning him out for a month to them. Whatever the reasoning behind it, at least we appear as usual to be planning for the future and giving Bienek every chance of being able to hit the ground running for the 2019 season.

Well it was in the end a storm in a tea Cup but how good it was to hear that Hakim Miloudi had no case to answer and that ‘all evidence was inconclusive’, after that ridiculous biting claim by Woods at Warrington. The Monday morning rugby press was full of statements about how Woods ‘is a decent honest player who wouldn’t claim if nothing had happened’ which for me, when you watched his reaction afterwards is simply a load of old cobblers. The Warrington Club offered no evidence at all including no pictures of ‘said wound’, yet at the time Woods stormed around like a man possessed, showing his arm to the officials who clearly couldn’t see anything and then he was even seen appealing to the touch Judge, who could clearly be heard saying, “I didn’t see anything!”.

As I said last week, if anything he should consider himself lucky that he was not cited for elbowing a player on the floor in the face. Yet there was no mention of it at all in the ‘on field case list’ and I suspect that ‘good guy’ Mr. Hill is something of a protected species as far as the RL are concerned anyway. Miloudi never even closed his mouth, but then again it is hard to do that with a massive props forearm in it. However the judiciary at least got this one right as far as the Hull player was concerned and I’d like to think the official statement from the Warrington Club read something like this:-

So do we let Bureta Faraimo continue to go about the game like a bull at a gate getting concussions and bans for de-capitating members of the opposition. Well according to Lee Radford this week we do. Asked if he will have a word with Faraimo after his two red cards, Radford said this week, “Not really no. He plays on the edge obviously. Sometimes when you do that you go on the right side of wrong or the wrong side of right. His game is not based on finesse, it’s about power and physicality. The more physical he is the better.” That’s fine I guess he’s the Coach and knows what he is dong but when I cast my mind back to some of the really physical players I have seen at the FC over the years, who made their reputation by clattering the opposition, like Mick Harrison, Tevor Skerrett, Karl Harrison, and Mark O’Meley, to name just a few, there was always a modicum of control and at least good timing in the memorable hits we saw them pull off. Of course occasionally such players lost it, but in general their forte was controlled aggression.

 

The price for our coach’s attitude towards Burita’s hot headed approach to the game is a deal of excitement for us lot on the terraces, with the bi-product of that, him either getting injured or banned, neither of which would appear too beneficial to a team that has really only got two dedicated wingers in him and Fetuli Talanoa. Already he has been concussed twice and banned twice in the 17 games we have played thus far and for me I think perhaps he needs to develop a more controlled aggression, because he is too valuable to be missing. Perhaps however it is with him ‘muck or nettles’ and he knows no different. Lee courted him for three years before he came to join us so he must know what he’s doing and these are of course just my thoughts and what the hell do I know anyway?

 

You know I’ve had a bit of stick this week for saying in the last edition that in my opinion the sooner we get the three or four points we need to avoid the middle eights, the better it will be for everyone both on and off the field at Hull FC. As regular readers will already know, I do tend to be a bit ‘Glass Half Empty’ but with people going on about how great it was that we are still in the top 4 I just wanted to point out how quickly things could change. The thing is I’m not shroud waiving and I know it is a long shot, but it’s perfectly feasible that should we continue to pick up injuries week in week out, then with the players we have out until at least the 24th round we might not win another game.

 

Look at the fixtures we face; there’s games against Wakefield and Huddersfield (away) and Salford, Widnes and Rovers at home all of which will see us facing up to teams that are absolutely desperate for the points and battling to get away from the twilight zone ASAP, whilst the other two matches are against Saints and Wigan at Home. Yeh, we have five home games and only two away, but I’m sure with our current demise injury wise you can see my point. With 18 points already and those two precious ones gained against the Dobbins at Newcastle so important, it’s unlikely that we’ll finish below eighth but it is still mathematically possible and whilst it is we should be wary.  With so many youngsters in the team it will be hard to sustain a level of performance anyway, but if the pressure starts to mount we could yet be in a bit of trouble.

 

Well, I watched the Warrington v Wigan game on Saturday and thought that our Coach did really well as one of the panel of pundits. In the company of the man responsible for building the currently formidable Rovers team, Peacock and the always knowledgeable Brian Noble, Lee gave a good insight into the actual technicalities of what was going on and it was good to see him in there getting the credit his successful tenure as our Coach deserved. Talking of the other cup rounds how embarrassing it was and how much like football it appeared when you saw how many players in that Huddersfield v Catalan game taking dives to try and attract penalties, The Frenchmen are becoming experts at it but for me at least, it’s certainly not in the spirit of Rugby league at all!

 

The Kingstone Press Summer Bash, which is the Championship’s version of the Magic Weekend is struggling a bit as a concept. The weekend which has always been a bit of a gimmick was introduced as a sop to the Championship Clubs and to try and mimic the Magic event. However, this year it suffered a 34% drop in attendance, compared to the same event last year which was also held at Blackpool’s Broomfield Rd ground. The total attendance across the two days was 11,805, down from the 16,444 recorded in 2017. What’s even more worrying is that less than 4,000 went through the turnstiles on the Sunday. The absence of the Dobbins and the relegated Bradford Bulls, (who both have a healthy following), was not balanced out by expansion teams Toronto, Toulouse and London despite some great hit up’s on the pitch. The attendances over the last 4 years are;

2015 15,671

2016 16000

2017 16444

2018 11805

 

With crowds decreasing like that, I don’t think the event can survive in the current climate myself and in any case there will have to be a big re-think before next year.

 

You know, we look a lot with envy at the NRL and the money and hype it generates in what is in essence a national game in Australia. Most of us enjoy a good Aussie game on Sky and I personally think that there is still a great gulf between the quality and speed of the two competitions. However there has always been a worry over there about the fact that every game is televised and that the sport is therefore too accessible and perhaps even losing its appeal as a live spectacle. The administration of the NRL have worked to address the falling live gates, which have impacted on the game year on year and after 12 rounds of the 2018 season, they seem to be having a bit of success. This year, so far, the NRL’s crowd averages are up by almost 1,000 across the board compared to last year.

 

The team with the highest crowd averages by almost 2,500 fans is Brisbane followed by Melbourne. The Broncos and the Storm are the only two teams to crack 20,000 with every other team’s attendance sitting between 10 and 20 thousand. The Raiders have the lowest average attendance with 11,647 which is almost 2,000 less than the next lowest, Gold Coast. Despite the Eels, Cowboys and Bulldogs occupying the bottom three spots on the NRL ladder, all three clubs have respectable attendances so far this season, although that’s the opposite for the second-placed Panthers. There, despite a stadium capacity of over 22,000, Penrith averaged just 14,000 fans during their games this season. For those of you who like these sorts of things here are the figures in detail.

 

Team Average Attendance
Brisbane 24,380
Melbourne 21,956
South Sydney 19,718
New Zealand 18,410
Canterbury 18,069
Wests Tigers 17,563
St George Illawarra 17,562
North Queensland 17,280
Sydney Roosters 16,924
Parramatta 16,444
Newcastle 15,790
Cronulla 15,074
Manly 14,285
Penrith 14,173
Gold Coast 13,977
Canberra 11,647

 

Those are probably still not befitting of what is the national sport of Australia, but every game is televised nationally and at least they are making a start at addressing the problem. With falling gates in Super League and some clubs like Widnes, Salford and Huddersfield really struggling to get audiences that befit the spectacle of our great game, perhaps we should have a look at what our antipodean friends are doing over there.

 

This week I receive a request from Bill Wessington from Goole who reads this rubbish every week and who wanted me to feature a memorable game that he attended with his late Dad back in the 1990/91 season. So, always trying to oblige when I can, this week I want to go back to a match I featured last in here in 2012 and it was a time when Brian Smith was our coach. As Bill said we have seen some pretty brutal encounters but this one perhaps ‘takes the biscuit’. Personally although I have seen some crude and disgusting performances by a crowd at a rugby game, I have never seen anything to this day, as bad as the reception that Greg Mackey received on his return to Warrington’s Wildespool ground. It was an evil place at the best of times and I once lost a tooth when I was punched in the face in the Gents there one half time in the 80’s, so I didn’t relish trips there myself much at all.

 

 

In those days the ‘Wire’ fans, (augmented it has to be said by Manchester United and Liverpool hooligans, looking for a bit of Sunday afternoon ‘sport’), were renowned for their abuse and at times thuggish behaviour which was the last thing that most of us wanted as we arrived at the ground sedated by copious amounts of Greenall Whitney’s Bitter. On occasions we had joined the home fans in the ‘Royal Oak Branch’ public house, but that afternoon, with menace in the air, we went straight to the ground. The day Greg Mackey returned to the Club he had left in such acrimonious circumstances he got abuse from the moment he ran onto the pitch. ‘Bluey’ actually went back to Warrington after his spell at Hull FC, but some Warrington fans still never forgave him for leaving in the first place.

 

As we arrived at Wildespool the home fans were waiting for us and I remembered that we were threatened on the way through the turnstiles by a huge, feral skin head with hardly any teeth. Covered in tattoo’s he wore cropped trousers and Doc Martin boots and looked like a throwback to the seventies. The game itself matched the atmosphere and was a tense affair, with both defences’ to the fore and only a penalty a piece to show on the score board after 78 minutes had been played. Our rear guard action was truly magnificent that cold Sunday afternoon and despite a constant tirade of “you’re going home in a f*ckin’ ambulance” (led by a guy waiving a lump of wood and wearing a Bishops mitre), from the hooligans to our left and the best efforts of the Warrington players on the pitch, we stood firm.

 

 

Throughout the game we got little chance to mount an attack though as the relentless Wire pressure threatened to end an unblemished start to the season that saw us sit at the top of the league. In total we made 270 tackles that afternoon, with Lee Jackson the hero making a total of 39. This, his attacking darts from acting half and fantastic support of the forwards got him the man of the match award. Another hero of a backs to the wall display was a young Steve McNamara who got through 24 tackles and he, like Rob Nolan, showed a real eye for the break on the few occasions that we managed to get into a position to press the Wire line.

 

The ‘Players, player of the game’ was another youngster, full back Richard Gay, who on three occasions stopped the rampaging Warrington forwards with crunching ball and all last ditch tackles. Twice he stopped Paul Cullen inches short of the line and he then held Gary Mercer up over the line as the oppositions star player battled to get the ball down.

 

Up to that last 2 minute’s wave after wave of Warrington attacks peppered our line. Then suddenly they were caught off side from a scrum and a strong touch finding penalty from Mackey saw us at last get into their half. This immediately drew another round of chants from the morons to our left about how Greg had a sexual preference for Donkey’s and this was still ringing around the ground as Mackey got the ball 25 yard out on the third tackle. Cool as you like and as if in response to the taunting he shimmied to the left looked up and dropped the perfect goal which raised the 3000 or so FC fans into a state of hysteria. We were still celebrating as a wave of Warrington fans charged towards us but the police were in there and just about managed to stop all-out war breaking out.

 

It was a fantastic response from the little Australian who would just not be intimidated and who said afterwards, “If they had hoped to put me off then it certainly didn’t, the more they chanted the more I wanted to inspire Hull to Victory’. The final hooter went to a half empty stadium and it was all a bit ‘hairy’ as we went back to our cars but I guess our chanting of ‘There’s only one Greg Mackey’ didn’t help much either. It was a great win and an inspirational display from the little general, ‘Bluey’ Mackey on an afternoon I will remember for all the wrong reasons until the day that I die.

 

 

So, it’s over and I for one am going to take a few days to get over that defeat on Sunday. Being back to back winners of the Challenge Cup has been a dream come true for this fan who can now honestly say that, after 2016 alone, he can die a happy man. I mean to say if you work 24/7 for four months writing a book about just one season and then give all the profits away to a player who was so instrumental in that success its pretty likely that it has been a life defining moment isn’t it?  With 2017 following on from that seminal year it was all going so well, but pride always come before a fall and it never does to become anything like complacent in sport does it? This year, almost predictably for worriers such as me, an admirable injury record over those two brilliant seasons has come crashing down and the wheels have now come off big style.

 

Sometimes, sporting convention predicts that we were destined to be brought back down to earth with a bump and true to type our dream has faltered and died, eventually wrecked on the rocks of bad luck, ill fortune and an injury crisis the likes of which, most of us simply can’t ever remember in a lifetime of watching the Club.  As I have said before in here, it’s not the numbers that are out, but the actual players and the critical positions they occupy. Most teams these days have big powerful packs all of whom can on the occasion raise their game to dominate any other Clubs forwards. Then, therefore, it’s the ability of the spine to create stuff, the centres to spread the ball and the wingers to finish. That dictates where the majority of games are won and of course that’s where with all our injuries we haven’t had a settled formation all year.

 

Friday is a massive game where two points will cement our place in the top 8’s and let’s face it the match is one that we should be winning. However, we come up against a well-rested Salford outfit that have been on the slide and who are desperate themselves for points. This game really is a mark of just where we have come from as a Club and if we can get back on the horse and get two points then the culture will be confirmed as unprecedented, but boy it’s a massive ask in just 5 days and Salford must be smelling blood. We have 5 home games left and we need to win at least two of them to start building for the top 8’s and the final 7 games when we should at least have some players back and what’s more, with the spirit we saw on Sunday that could still be a mouth-watering prospect.

 

Thanks to Dave C. Billy Mearns, Harry G, Dick Ollett, Ian and Sarah, Joe and as always to everyone else too numerous to mention for all the texts, E Mails and chats we have had over the last week. We all probably agree that although its hard at present, we all have to dust ourselves off and try to keep going. You know I firmly believe that a lot on Friday will rest on the response and backing the players get from the crowd and we have to be on top form ourselves to support the lads. Try not to be too despondent though, for with the whole RL word commending our effort and wanting in defeat at Saints, we have been in worse places as a Club, but at present the adversity just seems to be piling up doesn’t it? Get down to the KCOM on Friday and get behind the boys, because after Sundays amazing showing that they put on for us, it’s certainly the least we can do for them!!!

 

Try to Keep Believing

 

Faithfully Yours

 

Wilf