The Dentist’s Diary – 727th

Beaten by the better team on the night? Without doubt! Are Saints a pretty special team? undoubtedly!!!

After showings like that, it’s not easy to write these Diary’s at all, for whilst you all try and forget about it, I have to endeavour to explain how I feel about a performance that is, quite frankly, pretty hard to make any excuses for. 

You know, Rugby League is a pretty simple game, often over complicated by the so called ‘experts’ whilst, for me, an ordinary fan, it’s obvious that on Friday one team just wasn’t good enough and has to learn two very basic lessons very quickly. Firstly, when you have the ball you have to endeavour to, at the very least, keep it to the end of the set, whilst when you are defending you have to try to get through 6 tackles without conceding a penalty or a six again. Possession is everything and as I say, the game is that simple and if you can do those two things consistently, then you always have a chance of winning. It’s not rocket science, but at present we are just piling pressure on ourselves because we ain’t doing either. Our discipline is progressively crumblingand so as a consequence, we are playing more and more of thegame in our own half.   

On Friday we were second best throughout, but it was bound to happen wasn’t it? We watched on as a tired and listless FC team played out our worst performance of the season against a red-hot Saints side, hell bent from the off on retribution after their loss in Catalan. In essence they had the game won by half time. We simply didn’t get off the bus, we started too sluggishly and once behind, our mistakes ensured that we would never get back into it. 

Still knacked after a massive defensive stint on the back of more mistakes and conceded penalties at Leeds, we simply weren’t physical enough. What’s more, our discipline is a now a real issue and if we could just halve those misdemeanoursand errors, we would exert so much more pressure in games. 

It’s been gradually getting worse since the Salford game and on Friday the opposition recognised that, played to it and in a nut shell Saints taught us a lesson. They started strongly, grabbed the initiative and controlled the game, in fact the urgency and wanting they showed in doing that, meant that they probably played us at our own game!!

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The Dentist’s Diary – 726th

Well, we wouldn’t have won that last season (or the season before or the season before that), would we?

The rain poured down much harder than you could ever appreciate on TV and how many times have we been stood there on that open end at Headingley with rain running down our necks and out of our shoes, being mullered by 30 points? 

If I’ll always take a win, then I am in my high heaven if my team is fighting like hell against the opposition, the crowd and the elements and playing with passion and pride. There is littledoubt that this team, this season, meets that criteria perfectly and I was so proud of the lads come the final hooter yesterday. That defence was brilliant which was all we’ll really remember, because despite our discipline and ball retention being woeful  at times, we saw resistance and zeal of the first order, but boy,  did we make things hard for ourselves. 

A lot of the ‘Doubting Thomas’s’ were critical afterwards, but we beat Leeds in their own back yard, broke a few Leeds fans hearts in their first attended game back and got two very valuable points, and you can’t knock any of that can you? All I will say to such protagonists is ‘Just imagine how good we could be?’ Because, I think that with our current Centres and Houghton, Sneyd, Reynolds and Connor in the spine, come the dry pitches, we will really worry a few teams attacking wise as well. 

That said, that second half was so hard to watch, I was behind next doors settee!!!!!  But still great stuff and a great win, because after all ‘We All hate Leeds’ don’t we?  

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The Dentist’s Diary – 725th

This is going to get messy and all FC fans must unite behind our owner and our Club!!!

I make no excuses for leading with that headline, because the black clouds are gathering over the KCom as our long battle with the SMC is finally out in the open and after Adam’s programme notes on Monday, the gloves are most definitely  off! This is really serious stuff and there is a lot more to come out yet believe me. It may soon be a time for us all to ‘man the barricades’, get behind the owner and back whatever he decides is best for our club. At present it appears that we are being bullied and I don’t like bullies!  

As for the game, well, the fans were back and typical of the FC, we saved the worst for the best, as it wasn’t the homecoming any of us hoped for, was it? Just like that first ever game at the KC when London came to spoil our party, Catalan did the same and as Diary reader Jim commented afterwards, as 4 of the 5 games on the night were won by the away team, perhaps the pressure of playing in front of your fans, after so long, really did get to teams. 

All the expectation and wanting that had gone into fans returning to the KCom was blown away in what, I guess, can only be described as a typical Hull FC fashion. 

Everyone knew that whatever happened on the field it was still a momentous occasion. 431 days since the last attended game and at last the fans were back, but vociferous though we are, fans don’t win games! We simply didn’t deliver this time and the Dragons were worthy winners in the end. Brett has done a superb job on our defence and attitude, but for me he now needs to major on finding more ways to score tries. 

So, in the end I guess for many it was business as usual, as the supporters turned up at the KC full of hope, only to go home frustrated and unfulfilled. I was bitterly disappointed, but come on, why were we surprised, for that’s Hull FC for you isn’t it? 

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The Dentist’s Diary – 724th

Saints in the semi and shades of 2005!

One for all and all for one! After the racism stuff this was a significant departure before we even started!

That was simply amazing, absolutely enthralling and so inspiring! This team of our is just so together!

The conditions brought mistakes a plenty, but Cup games are about one thing and that is finding a route to victory. Winning is everything and that was some performance with big raps to every player for the steel they showed, Brett Hodgson for a perfect game plan and our defensive coach Gareth Ellis for a brilliant backs to the wall effort. With local lads Lane and Cator and now ‘local hero’ Savelio again killing it at the back of the pack, it was a real against all odds victory and I was so proud to be an FC fan. 

What changed from last week? Well, I believe that Hodgson thought we needed to start faster than them and play more of the game in their half and we did both things brilliantly as we pressed them back and Sneyd’s precision end of set field kicking turned them time and again. In fact, in short, we played the Pies at their own game. From the moment the players gathered beforehand in that huddle instead of a line, no doubt in support of Andre, you knew it was going to be special. 

Yet, when you’re an FC supporter who has endured the last three seasons, it’s hard to get your head around a Hull team that turns up buzzing like that every game, because we have as fans got used to being surprised one week and disappointed the next. Whether Radford actually did target games, as has been hinted at, or we were just not focussed enough long enough, I don’t know, but perhaps like you, this year as I prepare myself for each game I can’t quite believe that we can repeat the heights of spirit of the previous match. But each week we do!! In fact, after that game I struggled to remember a more passionate, focussed and committed FC performance since the last time we won at Wembley, for despite, (due to the conditions), it being a bit of a messy game to watch at times, the effort was outstanding.    

So, what a win that was and after all his talk of having a few surprises up his sleeve during the week and how the conditions would nullify Reynolds, the Wigan Coach was visibly shaken afterwards. As my pal Kathy said straight away, “That wasn’t because they had lost but more that he had been totally out-coached”. I couldn’t agree more! Well done Brett Hodgson.

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The Dentist’s Diary – 723rd

So Close, yet so far!

But in the end our first loss and yeh, I was disappointed, but at the same time I was so very proud as well. 

At the present time I support a team that has heart and spirit in abundance and really I can’t ask more than that. The effort once again was exemplary. That basis of a strong defence is so important because it makes sure that even if you’re misfiring in attack, you stay in the scrap. I think attacking wise we were second best, but we were always in there with a chance, because of the effort and spirit shown everyone. For spells we were the better team and Wigan knew it. We didn’t get much from the referee when as usual it seems that the official took far too much notice of Bateman and Hastings and their arm waiving and pointing theatricals and perhaps we have to get a bit smarter at that sort of stuff ourselves.  

We played one of the two best teams in the British game, lost a key forward for 60 minutes, had a player in the bin and once again the referee gave us bugger all, yet we fought and fought and had Reynolds been out there, we might just have won it. With him missing we lacked the structure of Wigan on attack, but we gave it a really good go and I was proud of every one of the guys. If we can get Reynolds and Ma’u back next week, then I really do feel that we have a good chance of getting a result and a 9 day turn around will do us the world of good as well. 

Brett Hodgson must be pleased with our character and determination to stay in the fight, but he’ll be frustrated by the moments of ill-discipline that ultimately let us down.

I feel so sorry for Tag though, for his loss is another real blow to us. Looking through the fixture list I think we were all aware that the FC are probably entering the most difficult passage of games we will see in the 2021 season as successive tough fixtures are followed by a long run of away games and now we enter it with a somewhat depleted squad. We are doing it tough at present but still doing it well and when you see how players like Brad Fash, Connor, Swift and Savelio have improved this season, you have to have a lot of respect for Brett Hodgson. He is proving to be a shrewd accusation and, even in defeat, he acts and talks like a true professional. So, he’s doing OK for me!!!  

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