The Dentist’s Diary – 632nd

That one was not for the faint hearted!!

Remember those Disaster Movies of the 70’s and 80’s where everything is going smoothly before catastrophe strikes and the heroes just get out by the skin of their teeth at the end? Well once again the Towering Inferno had nothing on being an FC fan on Friday night!

“Hardly Convincing was it!!”, seemed to be a universal assessment of what we saw at the KCom and convincing it certainly wasn’t!

That said, I would wholeheartedly agree with Lee Radford that it was all about getting the two points, but again it was tough to watch. From a position where we were in command and almost cruising, Salford just wouldn’t go away. So, in the dying embers of the game as we watched every second tick by on the clock we were saved again, with a minute to go, by a bit of Marc Sneyd’s restart kicking genius.

Fresh for the fight, there is no doubt that Salford had enjoyed a week off to sort out their bumps and bruises. They are a good team who had previously destroyed Catalans in France, won at Warrington at Easter and pushed Saints to the brink a few weeks ago at the Totally Wicked Stadium. Yet, it wasn’t that much of a surprise that on the night one or two of our lot still underestimated them, however, as a rival for the 4th or 5th spot in the League, we have now done the double over them and thus consolidated our place in the top half of the table!

For the casual observer it was a wonderful end to end game of open flowing rugby which held the interest right up to the final hooter. However, for us lot, the long suffering FC pilgrims huddled together on the terraces, it was again by the end excruciating to watch. Playing with just 11 men we almost capitulated in the face of a resurgent Salford outfit that smelt blood and you’d better believe that we’ll have to be so much more switched on at Castleford on Thursday.

Boy, walking into the Stadium it was rough weather for June and as the wind howled around the KCom, the rain beat on our faces, my jeans were soaked through, my Vans were fast filling up with water and as people muttered, ‘bloody summer rugby’, all around hoods were pulled up and umbrellas blown inside out. If last weekend was almost like a heatwave, Friday night saw the return of the ‘June gloom’ and as such I just hoped that it was something that wouldn’t extend out onto the field and into our performance.

After that wonderful annihilation of the Catalan’s Dragons last weekend in the cup and even taking into consideration the weather, the gate was really poor. With less than 10,000 turning up, it has to be a worry for Adam and Co. because it was obvious around us in the East Stand, that several season ticket holders had perhaps been too easily put off by the weathermen’s threats of heavy downpours. However, in all honesty as well, I think, reading a lot of my correspondence of late, the abject inconsistency that we have shown all season (which in fairness continued on Friday), has finally started to grind down and disillusion some of the keenest of supporters.

Before we kicked-off the rain eased, but as the players warmed up everyone on the terraces wondered which Hull FC it would be that turned up this week? One thing was for sure, we would have to be on our metal because looking across the Salford team-sheet there were certainly some game breakers in there.  As for us lot, well with an unchanged team for the first time in 129 games, (can you believe that?) we all just hoped that we could see some signs of a consistent run emerging and thus get a convincing win. On both counts unfortunately, we were again to be disappointed.

The first couple of sets saw both teams go toe to toe with no real clues of the ‘try fest’ that was to follow. Micky Paea was again on top form from the off and on several occasions Westerman and Manu charged into the Salford line, but already the fact that we seemed to be giving Salford far too much ground on every play was a worry. However, when we got down the field a brilliant grubber by Sneyd which used Houghton as a foil to dupe the Red Devils defence, saw Albert Kelly pounce and we were on the board. It was a brilliantly flighted kick from Sneyd and a great dummy run from Danny, but the sort of play that these days, seems so easy for Marc to execute.

We doubled up in the next set as Albo this time broke free down the right hand edge and brilliantly put Connor away  galloping down field, swatting aside would be tacklers as he went. Then showing a fine turn of pace, Jake cruised around the last Salford defender, before he sped away to score.

Soon we were knocking on the door again as Griffin burst through a two man tackle on the other side of the field and then found Sneyd who alluded two tacklers, before realising he hadn’t got the pace to finish it off. However, Marc released the supporting Minichiello, who powered over the line with a deal of ease and soon we were 18-0 up.


Sadly, just when another try would have pretty much settled it even that early in the game, we took our foot off the gas and the man that always seems to score against us, Pauli Pauli, reached out to touch down. With mistakes and penalty’s we were gifting them field position far too easily, but we got the ball back and a penalty gave us a chance to get back on their line but Sneyd opted to go for goal and missed from 40 yards out.  That didn’t seem to matter as we soon saw FC try number 4 as Kelly with his amazing dancing feet shimmied, swerved and stepped his way over under the sticks.

For the impartial viewer, it was developing into a great half of open rugby as Salford where then allowed back into things again, as a great looping pass from their star player on the night Lui, saw Bibby fly acrobatically in at the corner. However, the action wasn’t over yet as another move down our left put Shaul away to score a great try that followed a mazy run in which he turned the Salford cover inside out.

At half time we all wondered what would happen in the second half but the general consensus was that if we were to score first then the game would be up, but of course this is Hull FC and we didn’t!  The first points of the second half went to Salford through Robert Lui who dived over from close range after some early pressure on our line by the Salford forwards. That seemed to spark us into life again and as Albert Kelly put in a great kick towards Ratu Naulago in the corner he took to the air but just couldn’t connect with the ball over the line and it ran dead.

Sneyd consistently pinned them back at our end of sets with kicks to touch deep in their twenty. However, we didn’t capitalise on these much at all as we looked sloppy in the tackle and allowed the Salford attack much too much ground, as in each set they seemed to be able to sweep down field for 60 or 70 yards in 5 tackles. At this point I found myself wondering exactly what Hadley, Fash and Chris Green bring to such situations, although I had to admit as well that the ‘Old Man of the Mountains’ Mark Minichiello was having a great game, both in attack and defence. However, for me the difference between the teams was as I said Marc Sneyd who managed the game brilliantly in that woeful second-half. Under tremendous pressure it was he who made it a three score game again by nailing a drop-goal as we entered the final 15 minutes. Next up, we witnessed what was for me the try of the game as Ratu seemed to have sealed the win in style, breaking in an arcing run close to our line. If ever there was a need for the old knife through butter adage this was it as he dissected their line in a flash and was away, racing down the right wing like an express train. Again, as last week, he looked to have another gear in reserve, but wow, with the whole FC crowd on their feet, did he show incredible pace.

Then of course, just as we all sat back and breathed a little easier, (and in true Hull FC style), Pauli Pauli barged in for a second try and as Chris Green was sin binned and Josh Griffin sent off for a ridiculous tackle that was totally avoidable, we played the game out with 11 men and short-handed, our energy drained away. Jake Bibby and Niall Evalds both scrambled tries in the final three minutes to set up a grandstand finish that should never have been. Shaul and Faraimo were caught out of position as they both cruised in to pile the pressure on and we  were, once again, in for another nervy finish!!!

With a minute to go with tackling machine Houghton off the field and against our faltering defence Salford were always capable of getting right back down to our line and so quite unbelievably after that first half hour of the game, we all found ourselves holding our breath. Sneyd took ages to place the ball at just the right angle and then another one of those amazing restart kicks skidded off the turf in front of the waiting Salford players. Approaching the try line, the ball kicked up spun sideways and the waiting receivers could do nothing but knock it dead. It was a fantastic piece of work by Sneyd and yet it went un-acknowledged in any of the after game write ups I read.

So, we played out a pedestrian last set, Sneyd booted the ball into touch on the sixth and that was it!! In the end that restart kick with a minute to go won the game for us but did it in a match that should have seen us out of sight after the first half hour. Once again we were our own worst enemies and the team that Radford once galvanised into the best defensive outfit in the game, had now conceded more points than anyone else in the League. But, we scored some quite amazing tries and credit to Salford they certainly never gave up and they will cause a lot of team’s problems this season.

Shaul, Sneyd, Connor and particularly Kelly were mesmerising at times in attack, but once again we didn’t have the steel to shut the game out and those ‘wandering minds’ kept allowing Salford back into it. Still its two points and for those of us who aren’t able to enjoy the season until we have enough points in the bag to avoid relegation, then with 12 fixtures to go, we must be almost there now. But boy as I said earlier, we will have to be so much better and tighter in defence on the pocket handkerchief sized pitch of The Jungle next Thursday. 

So to the week gone by and with a lot of folks on social media crying foul and trying to look for all sorts of conspiracies last weekend, it could only really be the cup semi-final draw couldn’t it? Why hadn’t we been told the teams numbers in advance, St Helens ball had been in the fridge, the RL got the draw they wanted again etc. etc. etc. Even Adam in his programme notes said of it, “We were never going to get Halifax were we?”

Well as for those numbers, as has been the case throughout the rounds, look at the RFL web site folks, because they were on there all afternoon and I think, in fairness too, the fridge has been switched off for years. As for the RFL’s preferences, well the likely outcome will certainly provide a much better gate at Wembley than Catalans would had they got back there again.

However, for me (if I’m honest), I was perfectly relaxed about whoever we came out of the hat against, because the way things have been of late with our form, I was just glad to be in there in the first place!!! In addition, now (disregarding the possibility of the biggest single upset in British Rugby League) we are on target for a bumper gate in the capital and a chance, after last year, to get the Final back up there where it belongs. If I analyse my thoughts on the draw, as they panned out beforehand, they went something like this!

If we drew Saints it would be the toughest match up but the sort of challenge our current squad could really rise to and what’s more, I’d have still fancied us to surprise the big favourites as well. Then, if it was Halifax, I would have had to endure 8 weeks of my own nagging doubts as to which Hull FC would turn up and the ignominy and embarrassment of it being the wrong one, whilst finally if it was Warrington, then we’d have drawn a team that we know we can beat and who for me, if I’m honest, still have a bit of the ‘Kings new Clothes’ about them at times. Well, that’s how I was thinking as ‘the balls went in the bag’ and so, I guess I was happy whatever!

The men from the West Riding won’t win of course and Saints fans can be picking their seats for the final as we speak, but for us and the Wire, its completely different and, well matched on paper, perhaps who prevails in the end is down to just one thing; the number of changes to our starting 17’s that are enforced on us due to injuries sustained between now and then!  Plus, in the eventuality of both clubs picking some up, how much squad depth each club have to draw on. Our chances of a return to Wembley again, I think come down to that!!!

Its tough, but Wigan and Leeds didn’t exactly look easy in 2016 and 2017 did they? Yet we pulled out two contrasting, but still amazing performances to do them both, didn’t we? We ground out a war of attrition against Wigan and ran all over the much fancied Leeds at Doncaster and thus progressed to glory.

However, at this early stage, I would just add that looking at the way they play at present and their all-round strengths, then to get Saints out of the way in the semi-finals, in any way, would have made the final much more winnable for the other two teams. But that’s not going to happen now, so its Saints v one of us and perhaps already in the thoughts of some fans of both Hull and Warrington, (with the way Saints are looking at present) it might all be down to hoping we can, in the first instance, keep the score respectable.

Not for me however, because two great victories down there in North London have given me faith again, but even I have to agree that to play Saints in their current mood and mind set, on the biggest of stages there is, will be the biggest test there is for either the Wire or ourselves. So it is what it is and there is a lot of water to pass under the bridge before the end of July isn’t there? But, were in there with a chance of Wembley again and so we must have some confidence of progressing?  

Well, on the recruitment front, as we wondered which players would get signed up for next season and which would be released, last weekend the Hull Daily Mail announced that Bureto Faraimo had signed a two-year extension to his contract. However, surprisingly up until I wrote this on Saturday there had not been a mention of it from the Club themselves. I guess as I talk to people and readers across the fan-base, Bureta is a bit of a Marmite sort of character. For me, he’s a 100% trier and a real workhorse and I like him. Yeh he’s occasionally profligate with the ball, but he’s exciting to watch, a real handful near the line and someone who needs watching closely by all opposing teams. It is also his work down the middle helping out the forwards that consistently shines through.

He always had a tough task in filling the big boots of a player like Mahe Fonua, who was a real hero of those great Wembley victories, but actually Bureto’s stats are better in yardage and carries than ever Mahe’s were. However, Fonua will always be remembered as a real icon of that successful team won’t he?.

None the less Bureto has a chance to eclipse him, if we get to Wembley again!! As always of course as fans, we are all entitled to our views and many point to what appear to be defensive frailties and positional issues where he misses tackles and gets draw out of position as he did in the quarter final against Catalans and again at the death last Friday. Still to get as good a winger, or even better, would be a big ask and a drain when we are desperately hunting big name forwards, so for me it a good move. Indeed, with both Swift and Dawson-Jones pushing him and Ratu next term, we are well stacked for wingers. I guess the big question now is with his Army commitments and the interest that is apparently being shown by the RFU, will Ratu be staying after this season? Tries like the one on Friday make me and every other FC fan, hope that he does!

As for next seasons well no advances on Swift and Jones as new signings this week, but I am told Sao is confirmed and a pundit in the NRL commented on Joel Thompson that ‘He’s joining Hull FC in the Super league next season’, so it seems that what I hinted at last week is going to actually happen. Let’s just see what this week brings.   

I’m all for new technology, new ideas and new initiatives in Rugby, as in everything else, however sometimes, like everything in life, the old ways are the best. Take next season when Reserve grade teams become mandatory for Super League clubs, the set-up we will see across Super League in 2020, looks surprisingly like that of the mid-eighties, when we had a very successful pathway through the Colts to ‘A’ team and on to the first team.

Next year the upper age limit of the ‘academy’ sides will drop a year, as those A teams or reserves become the norm again and hopefully in years to come, that will again create the production line of British talent that supplies the top tier of the game.

Of course we had the foresight to be one of only two Super League Clubs to adopt the reserves idea this year, (although perhaps it was more like we were conned into it by other clubs agreeing to take part and then reneging on their pledges) but now everyone else has to follow. With the great news that the much maligned joint academy has at last been scrapped, we are back to a tried and tested formula that for years and years worked so well.

Next year every club that has a category one standard academy will be made to follow the lead of Hull and Wakefield and run reserves and it was interesting to hear this week that Lee Radford believes FC find themselves one step ahead when it comes to player development in a second string team. He said to the Mail, “I think it’s a benefit that we’ve had one prior, we’re not trying to find a full squad from anywhere, we’ve already got one up and running. The staff will be more organized for it and we’ll be more prepared for it from a planning point of view and scheduling and programming. It can only be a good thing I think”.

So, I’m looking forward to watching all the Super League Clubs in the reserves league next season but most of all after 4 years of a personal boycott, I’ll be going to watch an Academy game again!! 

Well I won’t be dwelling on the sacking of the ‘Wizard that Was’, over in the Land that time Forgot, but I did meet the guy a couple of times and he did come across as a really nice bloke, who got the rivalry and respected it but who as well, conducted himself just as you would expect an eminent ‘senior citizen’ of our great game would. I thought the way that he was sacked through the media and the fact that he was told by the Hull Daily Mail that he was going on Monday, with the club not actually getting around to sacking him until Wednesday night was poor myself. I’m told that he even told one Rovers player that questioned his tenure, ‘If I ain’t around on Thursday morning at training mate, I’ll have been fired’ That for me is shoddy but our fiends across the river and their Chairman don’t have a good record on the hiring and firing of coaches front at all do they? He might have been the Coach of our biggest and bitterest rivals, but I think he deserved better than that!

Smith has always been a very astute operator and a good coach too and no doubt he will do a good job at the Dobbins and sort them out, if unlike some of his predecessors, he’s allowed to do it without interference! Finally, on that issue, why have Rovers gone for Tony Smith? Well, I believe it’s quite simple in that as fugal and tight as usual, Rovers went for the right man in that they had just bought a whole full range of training gear for Tim Sheens and Tony Smith was the only Coach they could find with the same initials!! Why do you think Smith was seen straight away in his monogrammed strip eh?

Tim in Tony’s new Jacket!!!

I hear that in the end, after Justin Morgan refused to wear Sheens new kit, the choice was between Tony Smith, Teddy Sherrigham and Tommy Steel!

Well the Phil Edmonds signature stuff from last week certainly cause some debate, but I think that we got that one right in the end and Phil’s was indeed the signature on the ball.

Guess we got it right in the end …just!!!

Amongst the correspondence I received Brian in Lincoln wrote, “My Son purchased both Roaming the Range books for my Birthday, but before giving them to me he took them on Holiday abroad. While laid on the beach reading, a shadow came over him and the bloke causing it said, ‘That’s me there’ and it was Phil Edmonds. Glen my Son just happened to have the book open at page 88 showing the 1983 Hull FC team photo. When Glen explained that the books were his Dads, Phil signed them for me and so I can be sure that this signature is his although Just like Doctors I think he changes his every time he signs something!!!!!”

Here’s a slight variation on the signature, from the front of Brian’s book.

The Challenge Cup is for many of us old timers the greatest competition in the world and winning it the ultimate pinnacle. I mean to say had Rovers ever beaten us in the Premiership or Grand Final, I hardly think their taunts would have held the same acridity and longevity they did in the ‘You’ll never win at Wembley’ decades, because let’s face it there is no more pretigious or important Final in World Rugby League. Well that’s what a lot of us oldies reckon anyway!!  However, crowds in the rounds leading up to the final have been poor for several years now and the Challenge Cup seems, in recent seasons, to have lost a lot of its previous shine. It appears that some fans are just willing to watch the rounds on TV and only go to the Final if their teams get there.

Last week the highest crowd in the Challenge Cup quarter-finals came at Odsal, where Bradford lost to Halifax in front of 6,591 people. Now, that’s quite amazing really because the local clash between the Championship clubs was better attended than a tie between two strong Super League big-clubs in St Helens and Wakefield at the Totally Wicked Stadium, which attracted an attendance of 6,453. Our game at the KCom against the current holders, only attracted a pathetic 4,832 people, although a lack of travelling support was obviously a problem, while the lowest crowd came at the KCOM Craven Park, with just 3,311 watching Hull KR take on Warrington. 3,311 for a Quarter final clash between two Super League Clubs!!!!

So why is all this happening? Does the Magic Weekend, the Summer Bash and the Grand Final act to dilute the competition? Is the amount of games we play detracting from the rounds of the Cup? It’s a tough one to fathom out really. The Challenge Cup when I was growing up was THE competition and gates were good from the first round right up to the final. However, I believe that the hyping of their TV franchise by Sky TV, has seen it purposely side-lined in preference to the Grand Final at Old Trafford, which for me has in the eyes of the media become bigger than Wembley and that is perhaps why the crowds are dwindling. For me as well Sky hasn’t helped the Cups cause either with their scheduling as they insist their two games be scheduled in their usual Thursday and Friday slots.

Of course in the end the BBC have first dibs on which games they transmit but if the fans really mattered and the problems they have travelling were really considered, then ‘neighbours’  Bradford v Halifax would have been on Friday and Hull KR v Wolves on Saturday, so that the Wire fans would have a better chance of getting over the Pennines for an afternoon weekend kick off as opposed to a 7-35 Friday evening match, 95 miles away, which is televised anyway. Our game was easier and was prime for Thursday because if it had been free of charge to away fans it would have still only seen a taxi full of Catalan followers in attendance. But as always it’s all in the end about money and TV rights and the needs and requirements of travelling supporters are a long way down the line consideration wise.  

With the emergence of the Grand Final and Magic there has been an attempt, I think, to shunt the Challenge Cup into a siding, and yet across the globe the Final is still the most watched RL game in the world, simply because of the history, heritage and kudos it holds. As a game we really do have to keep it special and try and re-build its importance in the minds of British fans. It has to be back up there as the top competition in the game, but how do we do it? Well that is something for consideration I think, when we renegotiate the TV rights for all the competition, so its over to you Mr Elstone. 

The weather on Friday night was reminiscent of Winter rugby and the ‘Good old days’ at the Boulevard and on the road in Lancashire, and at half time reader Harry Mortimer reminded me of the times we all went to every away game with The Mermaid pub bus from Boothferry Estate. He added as well about how it always rained when we travelled to Oldham’s old Watersheddings Ground. It was without doubt the most dank and dreary place in the game and back then with places like Hilton Park at Leigh and the Athletics Ground at Rochdale there were a few about! The old stadium was fames as being the highest ground in the Rugby League.

Games in the 80’s were never entertaining affairs over there as the quality of rugby seemed to match the gloomy surroundings. I remember a game in late 1980 when we had all travelled to Oldham to witness a dire 2-1 defeat and we all knew that we could expect little different, when we visited on 6th November 1982 in that great 82/83 Championship winning season. We travelled over the Pennines as part of the usual away day outing, sipping our tinned Hansa Lager and peered through the steamy windows of the coach at the pouring rain outside.  We turned off the M62 between the ‘dark satanic mills’ and as we drove beneath the railway bridge that announced, ‘Welcome to Oldham, home of the Tubigrip Bandage’ we reflected on the fact that things must be pretty grim, if a bandage was the mill town’s only real claim to fame.

If the place itself was dour, then the ground was even more stoic. Devoid of any signs of modernization it was a dire venue indeed. In fact, for a place that was literally running with water and named after the local springs nearby, it was hard to understand why both the Gents and Ladies toilet were completely devoid of any. It had a grimness of aspect that made Thrum Hall at Halifax, look like ‘Old Trafford’.

The last improvements had been made twenty years previously, when a new score board was erected, but otherwise ‘The Watersheddings’ was a memorial to the austere post war era of flat caps and whippets with which our great game has at times over the years invariably been associated. It was always freezing cold too. Sometimes when you left the M62 you could see pedestrians in their shirt sleeves but by you reached the stadium everything was shrouded in mist.

I suppose it probably had a lot of character, with one stand, although long since renamed, keeping its post war knick-name of ‘The Penny Rush’. That afternoon we all had a few beers in ‘The Standard’ pub before taking our places in the ancient Herbert Street Stand which leaked like a sieve and always seemed to face the rain and sleet. That day by the kick-off the rain had abated, but a dank ‘Baskervillian’ mist had descended over the ground and although you could see all four corners of the pitch, the tops of the goal posts had disappeared altogether. That’s how low the cloud actually was!!!

Hull FC arrived in Oldham gracing the top of the League, having won fourteen games and lost just three. Oldham were in fourth spot and as with most Clubs back then, they saw this game as a chance to shine against the ‘Big Spenders’ from Humberside. They boasted some good players too, and it was with a deal of trepidation that we huddled together, sang ‘Old Faithful’ and waited for the kick off.

Oldham started in a lively fashion and it was obvious that they intended to frustrate us and knock us out of our stride. Our defence had to be at its best too as Props, Goodway and Hogan and second rower Worrall, ploughed into our line. Garry Kemble was I remember outstanding at full-back that day, stopping everything that came towards him.

It was nip and tuck until Mick Parrish put the home side in the lead with a penalty awarded for off-side after just 6 minutes. Shortly afterwards however Hull’s Dave Topliss looked certain to score until Referee Mr. McDonald brought him back for a forward pass, something the official repeated with Dane O’Hara just five minutes later. It looked like it was not going to be our day, when just before half time Oldham got some possession and all McCurrie had to do was fall over the line to score under the post, but he dropped the ball. As the rain started to fall again, the teams tramped off for the break with the ‘Rough’yeds’ of Oldham in the lead 2-0.

The second half started with the home forwards battering our pack again, then, in an attempt to suddenly open the play out, Platt threw out a long pass in the direction of Vigo. Had it landed in his hands the winger would have gone the distance and scored against us, but from nowhere up popped Dave Topliss, hands at full stretch over his head, to intercept.

So intent on pressing home any advantage were the whole of the Oldham team, that Full-Back Taylor was up in the line and so when ‘Toppo’ sidestepped his marker and hit open ground there was no-one in front of him. It was then down to one of those spectacular ‘sprints’ where everything for the watching fan goes into slow motion. With our off-half haring down field and wingers Vigo and McEwen flying across the ground at an angle to try and cut him off, we all held our breathe. However, Topliss just got to the try line first and planted the ball between the posts, before both the chasers hit him and forced him to the ground over the dead ball line. It was another one of those memorable tries that stays with you forever. Crooks made no mistake with the ‘extras’ and we led 5-2.

Then it was ‘backs to the wall’, as wave upon wave of Oldham attacks ‘floundered on the rocks’ of our brilliant defence and we were still protecting that flimsy lead as the game ended in torrential rain which was now driving under the front of the Herbert Street Stand and into our faces. Still, before a handful of beleaguered stewards could do anything about it we were over the fences, onto the field and slipping and sliding on the greasy turf to congratulate the lads. I was drenched that day and developed a heavy cold the following week which all the regulars in the ‘Mermaid’ christened “Oldham Flu”, but it was all worthwhile after having experienced such a hard fought win.

So there we are a win, on Friday we got two points and consolidation in the League, but otherwise it was business as usual as a lack of mental strength in the second half and a couple of daft dismissals put us under pressure both on and off the field. After half an hour the fact that we would be on the edge of our seat with a minute to go, was quite unthinkable, but this team is so volatile and as I said last week the only thing you can predict about the FC, is that we are totally unpredictable. 

As for Castleford this week well it’s a short turn around and perhaps we should have the tackle bags out at County Road because we have to find a way to start to shore up our defence. My prediction? Well it will be hard, for it always is across there, but we’ll either take them close and it will go either way, or they will blow us away, for those two scenarios are the only ones we seem to experience these days.

Thanks to everyone who has been in touch, to Dick Ollett for a good chat over a pint on Saturday in the Dog and Duck, to Mike, Iain, Sarah, Ian and Alan S. who all came for a chat about the Diary and the game on Friday night and to the dozens of you who have been in touch by text and E Mail over the last week. I really do appreciate your theories, imaginings and stories particularly the ones that I can’t put out in here! Here’s  to another week in the life of Hull FC!!

What will it bring? Well we have I guess to wonder if we’ll get any answers to the question we’ve all been wondering about like; will we get any bans on Monday night, who’s injured for next week, whose back in contention, are more signing announcements on the way, has Joe Westerman really signed for Cas, which FC will turn up on Thursday and what the hell has happened to Masi Matongo!!

As always at Hull FC, there are always more questions than answers!

Keep Believing and enjoy the game on Thursday!  Speak to you all next week!!

Faithfully Yours