The Dentist’s Diary – 711th

It’s been another funny old week, but things have looked up a bit for yours truly and all being well I should be having my jab tonight (Saturday) at Beverley Racecourse which has already made me feel a bit better about things in general. 

At the FC pre-season continues with a new loan signing and with Josh Reynolds continuing to be the darling of the media, whilst once again I’ve scraped around and found one or two bits of stuff to talk about. 

Later in here I celebrate the fact that we have at last got together with the NRL and discussed rule alignment between the two competitions. Some of the changes that we’ve made are a bit baffling and one strikes me as being pretty unnecessary, but thank goodness we have at last gone some way towards gaining some parity across the sport, which  hopefully in the end will see us all playing to the same rule book in both our domestic and international competitions. We ain’t there yet, but at least it’s a big improvement, which immediately makes our game so much more understandable for the uninitiated and more credible as a World sport. 

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The Dentist’s Diary – 710th

Welcome to this week’s Diary and thanks again for joining me as another week goes by when again (for most of us at the older end of the community at least) one day looks very much like the last. It’s been a long cold January in more ways than one and I for one am glad to see the back of it!

Normally whatever the crises we have faced in our lives we have always been so lucky to have our beloved rugby team to at least offer a modicum of distraction. I have talked in here in the past about how a visit to the Boulevard or the KC has always for me, even in the darkest of times, offered a sort of oasis and a diversion for a couple of precious hours each week. There was always something happening and always something to distract you a bit. 

And boy, if ever there was a time when we need that sort of thing then surely it is now. Yet here we are with no rugby, no meet ups with our mates in the pub or at the KC, no chance to meet the players or enjoy a fans forum and no opportunities to even visit the club shop and get ‘all excited’ when we see the new seasons strips and range of merchandise. All we have is the media and because of the state of things across the country the level of news about our game and our club is now at an all-time low. Not because its being kept from us, but rather that there isn’t anything to report on. 

Still with vaccines rolling out, there is at last hope on the horizon and with just 8 weeks to go to the new season (whatever that actually means) I can’t wait to get going again, even if it is behind closed doors. But boy could we do with something to get our teeth into! Still as always, I’ve done my best and so once again here is my take on the last 7 days in Rugby League and around Hull FC. 

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The Dentist’s Diary – 709th

It’s been quiet again this week hasn’t it? Well, it has with regard to our club and even the Mail (which at times produces articles that at best resemble those of Hans Christian Anderson) have struggled to find anything meaningful or otherwise to discuss. Our noisy neighbours seem to find plenty to talk about, but news on our side of the City certainly seems to be in short supply, but more about that later. However, I hope I have got something included in this week’s edition that will interest you. 

If it’s been quiet in West Hull, it’s certainly been another strange week around the game, with both Leeds and Huddersfield declaring cases in their ranks and having to shut down their operations for 10 days or so. I guess that was to be expected and whilst, with masks to be worn when training inside and sometimes outside and daily testing in place, the game has done its best, it only takes one player to bring the disease into camp and the whole thing collapses under the pall of self-isolation. As it was in the spring, we can’t help but wonder who will be next and whether we will ever get to the start of another season any time soon! 

At Hull FC our Coach at least seemed happy with the delaying of the start of the campaign because, as he prepares for his first season in charge, it gives him another two weeks with the players. Those players must however wonder what is happening in the bigger scheme of things because there is certainly a deal of understandable uncertainty about across the game.

So, although I’m still trying my best to find something to talk about, this week it hasn’t been easy.

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The Dentist’s Diary – 708th

Another week, more doom and gloom, more uncertainty and more changes to the season ahead!!!

This last week is traditionally the most depressing’ in the calendar of a normal year, so with all that is happening it was always going to be a dire one for all of us lot craving a bit of rugby to watch, wasn’t it?  However, as another tough week comes to an end, the only certainty in the future is, once again,  that everything is uncertain. The season has now been put back two weeks and although the guys are all in at training, they must wonder exactly when things will get anywhere near normal again and even indeed when they will get playing at all! 

In such a cold and very dark January, things are nothing if not mundane for all of us. Covid continues to ravage the country and it’s certainly ironic that it’s the only thing that I have ever known that was made in China, that’s lasted more than a year!! 

Here at home after another week of asking the three questions I outlined in the last Diary, it’s been a time of not doing anything besides getting up, walking once a day and going to bed. Mind you, I’ve again been guilty of drinking endless amounts of tea and coffee, which usually means that the dishwasher is full by tea time. Then, because there’s no mugs left to drink from, if we’re thirsty, we have to drink wine! And, we always seem to be thirsty these days!!! Every cloud or just a recipe for disaster? Who knows and indeed who at present even cares!!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 707th

I hope like our family you managed to have a good, if not restricted, Christmas and welcome to 2021 and the first Diary of the New Year. 

I’ve purposely refrained from using the ‘Happy’ word above because things are, at present, decidedly far from ‘happy’, but at least we now have some future prospects, as the ‘jabs’ role out and although I really can’t see us all back at the KCom for a long time, you have to hope don’t you?

I’m pretty confident that we will have to start the 2021 season behind closed doors again and what’s more, as I have said before in here, it will be a while before folks like me have the confidence to get amongst big crowds again anyway; for the last year has changed a lot of people, perhaps in more ways than we possibly know. 

With no rugby to watch, the weather doing its January best to imitate the inside of our freezer and with this damn virus again terrorising large swathes of the population, these days life in our household circulates around just three daily questions. Where are we going to walk today? What are we having for tea and what the hell are we going to watch on TVtonight? That’s about it at present, as I’m sure it is for a lot of you reading this. 

The fact is, at these times, we don’t only need books, TV and films that speak of life and give us a lift, we all need sport to do that as well. Now more than ever we all need the sort ofbuzz our great game can bring us and hopefully, after a massive effort from everyone inside and outside the club over the winter that, at our beloved Hull FC, is once more in sightfor us all again. For now however, the proliferation of inane articles in the media and the lack of any sort of substance in the editorial across the game indicates that we are in a sort of state of suspended animation, where everything is in place but nothing is happening. As fans we are all desperate for something to get passionate about again, even if we can only watch our heroes on TV. 

Thankfully, at least the lads are back training, our owner has got over his health problems, the new Coach is getting to grips with the issues and our new ‘Marquee’ signing is here and making all the right noises. So, at least we have a real hope that perhaps despite all the doom and gloom around, ‘things can only get better’.

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The Dentist’s Diary – 706th

Season’s Greetings and thanks to everyone for sticking with the Diary through 2020!!!

So, another year has almost passed us by and Christmas or at least what this year passes for Christmas, is upon us. Thankfully at last there is a light ahead for all of us, but at present, sadly, things all around seem to be getting worse rather than better. That said, despite everything that has gone on, we are still talking about rugby and we still have our Club, our game and our hopes and dreams for the future. 

The nightmare that was 2020 is almost behind us and we have to look to that future and indeed next season with a bit of optimism. We also have to show some faith in those people who can ensure that the sport of Rugby League and our beloved Club keep going until the storm clouds clear, all our  fortunes change and we get back to something like normality (whatever that will be). 

It’s been a quiet old week news wise hasn’t it? However, it usually is at this time of year. But, none the less here in the last Diary of 2020, I’ll try and look at what news there is around rugby wise and indeed at what being a fan is all about for me at times like these, as I reflect on a year and a season that, in both cases, I think we will all be glad to see the back of! 

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The Dentist’s Diary – 705th

We’ve signed a man called ‘Grub’!!

In a week when we saw the arrival of our new ‘Marquee’ signing in the form of Josh ‘The Grub’ Reynolds, there was certainly a deal of excitement about. Meanwhile, our new Coach was settling into his surroundings in the capitol of British Rugby League, whilst back home in Australia the NRL were discussing buying a stake in Super League and introducing another slew of rule changes to their competition, that no doubt many in this country with ridicule and dismiss out of hand; before, of course, we introduce most of them ourselves in 2022. 

However, before you switch off completely on those rules, it’s perhaps worth considering that their current list of changes have been led by the fans and their views on how the game can be improved. For us lot in this country who have existed under the stoic, autocratic and sometimes bombastic  stewardship of the RFL for so many years, is that refreshing or what??

In a statement the NRL rules commission said, and this is the really important bit for me, “You’ve got to give the customer what they want. We want to attract new fans to our game and we want our current fans to keep coming back to watch games live at the ground or on TV. It was important to understand what they want. It is clear the new innovations last season were a success. You only have to look at the data, there were more tries, more line breaks and more minutes of ball in play and the response from our fans and players has been positive. In  particular, the six-again rule has addressed the biggest issue that was in the game and that was the wrestle. The changes have speeded up the ruck and made the game more free-flowing which is exactly what the Commission wanted to see.”

At a time when, as I say, we are told tentative talks are taking place with regard to the NRL buying a stake in Super League and some in this country are already turning their noses up, you have to at least listen to what they have to say for their attitude towards the game is certainly refreshing!!!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 704th

‘All is calm all is Bright!’

It’s certainly been a quiet old week and I’m not sure at present (Friday night) if our new Coach has even arrived in this country at all. That said, I’m not sure either whether he has to go into quarantine or not on arrival anyway? What’s more, at the time of going to press it’s certainly been quiet on the transfer front and on what Andy Last has decided to do with his ‘job offer’ as well. Paul Cooke had some strong thoughts on that last one this week in the `Mail’ and I’ll be dissecting that article in some detail in here.

However, here we are with just the first of no doubt a lot of shorter closed season Diary’s, but I do hope you find something to interest you, on these wet, dreary and short winter days.  

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The Dentist’s Diary – 703rd

Welcome to Hull FC. Brett Hodgson.

The waiting is over, the result didn’t appear to suit everyone at first, but at times like these I have always said in here that whatever you think as changes are made, we should never forget that Coaches come and Coaches go, Players come and go and owners come and Owners go but the fans go on forever!

That said, for me this is an important moment in the history of the club and the most important thing Brett said on appointment was this, “Whether it’s a win or a loss, I think the effort is what fans want to see and what fans and supporters will appreciate at the end of the day. It’s a big part of English rugby and we’ll be striving to make sure they’re happy”.That’ll do for me, for a start!

So, as predicted in here 4 weeks ago, Hodgson’s got it and as always, the Diary is (and will be) 100% behind him. That said, I’m a fan and as such allowed my opinion. So, I have to say that, as an unproven Head Coach it was still a bit of a surprise and a lot of fans reading this will have shared a bit of an initial feeling of being a tad underwhelmed when the announcement was first made. 

One or two on social media went spare, but some would go on a rant if we won the Grand Final, but no one had polished the trophy properly beforehand. However, what I would say to them is that there’s been an expression around the place for years that goes, ‘In Adam we Trust’ and after what he’s done for all of us that’s just how it should be. It’s his money and his risk. Furthermore, taking on board the year we’ve all had and the state of the game in general, Hull FC can in many ways be described as being in, if not the last chance saloon, at least a bit of a worrying state. So, we all have to do just that! Trust our Owner, for he has been pretty canny over the years and in many ways at present he has a lot more to lose than any of uslot. 

Now the new Coach is in place and good luck to him, he’s looking good and making all the right noises, so let get behind the bloke and move forward again together. 

To the sceptics I would just say no-one had even heard of Brian Smith before he came to the Club, but I can to this day still see him leading his players to the adoring fans at the Boulevard as we got to our first Premiership Final for years, as  ‘Keeping the Dream Alive’ rang out from the stadium speakers. Let’s hope that Brett can emulate that.

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The Dentist’s Diary – 702nd

What a Difference a Week makes eh?

We were outplayed at times and pretty well mastered throughout and that by a Wigan team that simply out thought us! Had we been neutrals watching, we would have been full of praise for how they controlled the whole game, but when you’re the ones being done in a semi-final, it’s hard to have an objective view on things at all really.  

I think we all dared to dream and got a bit carried away with it  all and perhaps in the end it was all that we as FC fans should have expected. Wigan had all the play-off experience and were simply far too good for us at managing the game. Of the 4 that remained, they’re the best team in such situations by far and they proved it last night. 

They came out to control things from the off, went toe to toe with us when both sides were fresh, took their chances when they came and then just contrived to disrupted our game throughout. They held that stranglehold to the end, grabbed a couple of late tries that flattered them on the score board and so ran out easy winners. 

We gave it our all, never shirked a tackle and tried so hard to get right in their faces, but we didn’t get the breaks when the margins were fine, or the rub of the green when it was close, nor could we change our game once we fell behind. All through the last three seasons, form has come and gone, but we have never had a ‘plan B’ once the other team got on top. 

So, for us the season was over with what looked on the face of it to be a bit of a whacking. We know that it wasn’t like that, but that’s what the record will show!

I was so sorry for everyone who has anything to do with Hull FC and particularly for Adam Pearson. These are tough time and although someone had to lose, with all that is going on around here at present I just wish it hadn’t been us. 

None the less, we all awoke on Friday morning with a very different Christmas ahead of us and another four months before we see the lads play again. However, last night, you just couldn’t fault the effort or the passion, we were just beaten by a better team who turned up intent on stifling and frustrating us, before they clinically finished their chances. 

What’s more, as the seasoned play-off contenders that they are, they executed that plan perfectly!   

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