With the season opener just around the corner we look at how Hull FC will go in 2018.
Hull FC have enjoyed a tremendous last couple of seasons, reaching the play-offs in both – while also winning back-to-back Challenge Cups. It will be interesting too see how they go in 2018, as the expectance levels have risen dramatically at the KCOM Stadium.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Bureta Faraimo (Parramatta Eels), Hakim Miloudi (Successful trial), Micky Paea (Newcastle Knights)
Gareth Ellis (Retired), Mahe Fonua (Wests Tigers), Steve Michaels (Released)
FIRST FIVE (in the league)
Huddersfield (H), Wigan (A), Castelford (A), Warrington (H), Leeds (A)
WHAT TO EXPECT
Lee Radford has turned this Hull FC side into real top of the table contenders, and this season will be no different for the Black and Whites. They’ve really turned their fortunes around this last couple of years, and become a real established side in Super League. It’s a real strange one, as it was only a few years ago, when Hull FC fans where calling for the head of their head coach Radford, flash forward two years and he’s the best thing that’s happened to them in the Super League era. The gaffer has guided them towards back-to-back Challenge Cup Finals – winning both, against Warrington and Wigan. They have also reached the play-offs for the last two season, unfortunately losing out to Wigan and Leeds respectively. Hull fans will be hoping they can go one further in 2018, but I feel it could be a step too far for this side.
I think we all saw what Albert Kelly can offer to this Hull FC side in 2017. The funny thing about it, is that I believe we only saw a glimpse of his top game too. I feel that he has much more to offer, and this season, he could be real crucial in their surge towards the top. When he came into the FC side last season, there was a lot said about the former Hull KR player, as to whether he could actually make a difference and become a top player at his new club. He not only did that, but also turned into one of the signings of the season across any team in Super League – scoring 19 tries, and getting 14 assists in his league campaign alone. It was a great return for his first season at Hull FC, one that I can only see him improving on in 2018. If Hull FC have any success this year, it will come from this guys contribution – early shout for the 2018 Man of Steel.
Hull FC have lost two great players in the off-season, with both Gareth Ellis and Mahe Fonua leaving the club, the former retiring from the sport completely. Two players who are very, very tough to replace. However, FC have tried to do that, by bringing in winger Bureta Faraimo and former Black and Whites prop Micky Paea. Faraimo really came onto the scene back in 2013 when he caught everyones eye for the Tomahawks in the 2013 World Cup. Since then, he moved to Parramatta Eels where he scored nine tries in 15 games, before moving onto the New Zealand Warriors, for who he never featured for in the NRL. As for Micky Pea, it’s a dream return to Hull FC, after leaving for the NRL back in 2015. The powerhouse prop moved to the Newcastle Knights where he featured 20 times in the past two seasons.
Now, I’m not one to read too much into the fixtures for the Super League season. As personally, I just don’t see how it matters. However, having said that, you can’t not look at the opening two months for Hull FC and think, crikey, if they get out of this in the top six of the table, they’ve done very, very well. Within their first five games of the season, they face Wigan, Castleford, Warrington and Leeds – three of them being away from home. They then have their first Hull derby (away from home) and face Saints (away from home again) within their following five games. It really is a tough start for the Black and Whites, but one that I’m sure each and every player is looking forward too. You have to play every team at some point, so why not play them early doors, before any side has had a chance to settle in the league.
Top Tryscorer – Albert Kelly
Top Pointscorer – Marc Sneyd
Club Player of the Year – Danny Houghton
WHERE WILL HULL FC FINISH?
After what has been a great couple of years, I’m sure at the very least, Hull FC and their fans will be expecting to reach the play-offs once again. However, with other sides getting stronger, it’s going to be a tough year for all. Hull FC to finish fifth after Super 8s.