With the season opener just around the corner we look at how Hull FC will go in 2019.
Hull FC will be looking for a stronger season this year, especially in the league as they haven’t reached the Grand Final since 2006 and never won the title in the Super League era.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Matty Dawson-Jones (Leigh Centurions), Jordan Thompson (Leeds Rhinos), Danny Langtree (Oldham), Levy Nzoungou (Salford Red Devils).
Jordan Abdull (London Broncos).
Hull KR (A), Castleford Tigers (H), Wigan Warriors (A), Huddersfield Giants (A), Leeds Rhinos (H)
WHAT TO EXPECT
Hull FC will be looking to deliver this year after a poor end to last season. Lee Radford’s men have done well in the Challenge Cup in previous seasons, however they haven’t replicated this in the league. Like most clubs their aim will be to achieve glory at Old Trafford in October, but they may struggle this season. With injuries to key players halting any progress last year, a similar showing this year could lead to another below par season. It would be expected that they can be around the playoffs, but that may depend on if they are able to keep players fit.
A key player for Hull is Albert Kelly, but after picking up an injury in a pre-season match against Wakefield Trinity, it is believed that he will miss the opening few rounds. Kelly is a dynamic half-back who has impressed after moving from city rivals Hull KR back in 2017. A prolific try scorer in his position with 26 in only 44 matches, he is able to evade defenders and often is backing up on line breaks. Kelly likes to attack the line and his short kicking game in behind defences often cause issues. If he is able to stay fit it will mean England international Jake Connor will operate in the centres, but he would deputise if either Kelly or Marc Sneyd was unable to feature.
There has been a lot of scrutiny among many in Hull’s transfer activity with no stand out signings. The black and whites have brought in four new players, along with Lewis Bienek who featured towards the end of last season. Levy Nzoungou looks to be a signing who could have a big future. The 21 year-old made only a handful of appearances for Salford but could potentially be a player who develops at the club. After the departure of Liam Watts, Hull looked short of a prop and signing Bienek and Nzoungou they have replaced with two players who could cause sides issues. With only Jordan Abdul leaving, Hull didn’t need to replace especially as he wasn’t making regular appearances.
Another signing who could play a huge part is Danny Langtree. The 27 year-old mainly operates as a second rower and will develop along side Sika Manu and Mark Minichello. Langtree has only played for Oldham at senior level and he maybe a surprise package stepping up from Championship One. He could turn into a useful interchange and impact player causing problems for sides.
Hull start the season in tough fashion with a trip across the city to face Hull KR. Despite being on top more often than not in the past few seasons, it is always a hard match which can go either way. This is followed by a home fixture against Castleford Tigers, a side who have been challenging in the past few years, however they may struggle without Luke Gale.
Back-to-back away matches follow with trips to Wigan Warriors and Huddersfield Giants. Lee Radford’s men may find it a difficult start to the season, with arguably the easier task being against the Giants. They then host Leeds Rhinos, who are a side that Hull struggle against. In the opening five matches many people think Hull will win only one or two of those fixtures, but if they want to be challenging for the playoffs they must be looking to beat sides like Leeds and Wigan who will be around the playoff positions.
Top Tryscorer – Bureta Faraimo
Top Pointscorer – Marc Sneyd
Club Player of the Year – Albert Kelly
WHERE WILL HULL FC FINISH?