Season Review: Hull FC
A season of two halves and two coaches for Hull FC in 2020. Post-lockdown saw the end of the Radford era after just over six seasons in charge of the Black & Whites.
With a record of three wins and three losses in the opening six rounds of 2020, it was lacklustre 38-4 defeat at home to Warrington that saw FC owner Adam Pearson announce live on Sky Sports that Radford was no longer the man to lead the team. A decision some felt harsh given Radford’s efforts at the club during his playing and coaching careers.
Assistant Coach, Andy Last was given temporary charge of the first team, but then had to wait, a no doubt frustrating near five months, to get his team out on the pitch due to Covid-19.
Hull FC returned to action on 9th August and suffered a 54-18 defeat to Salford Red Devils. Not the start Andy Last would’ve been planning for during the months of lockdown.
FC’s mid-season results showed consistency if not clinical finishing seeing them narrowly beat Wakefield, narrowly lose to Salford then narrowly beat Castleford. But it was a run of three straight victories at the end of the season that saw them make an unlikely sprint for the play-offs.
The news had been confirmed that the 2020 Betfred Super League Grand Final was taking place at the KCOM stadium, and this seemed to drive the Black & Whites on to reach a Grand Final in their own stadium. Round 1 of the play-offs saw them send Steve Price’s Warrington Wolves home early (again) with a solid 27-14 win.
But a week later and just 80 minutes from a Grand Final, it was a ruthless Wigan, powered by Tommy Leuluai and re-invigorated by the return of Sean O’Loughlin put pay to the hope of a “home” Grand Final.
Post-season saw the announcement that former Man of Steel winner, Giants and Wolves fullback Brett Hodgson would be taking charge of the team in 2021.
Player of the season
Post-lockdown Jake Connor showed glimpses of a return to the form that earned him his England and GB call-ups in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Last was forced to shuffle his pack with injuries to key players including regular fullback Jamie Shaul. Connor stepped in and his move to this role coincided with a turnaround in Hull FC’s fortunes towards the end of season. It will be interesting to see where incoming new boss, Brett Hodgson, a fullback himself, feels Connor’s strongest position lies within his team.
Not too many to shout about in 2020 for Hull FC, but the Play-off Elimination defeat of Warrington Wolves probably ranks up there with what fans will remember from this season.
If we were looking at moments of individual brilliance it would probably have to be Ratu Naulago’s 95 metre effort against Castleford with a confident catch from Danny Richardson's last tackle kick, before breaking the line to sprint virtually the full length to score. How much they miss the Fijian flyer in 2021 remains to be seen.
As always in these season reviews, it feels Hull FC still have plenty of work to do if they want to be challenging the likes of Wigan or St Helens at the top of the table or reaching Grand Finals regularly.
New boss, Hodgson, will no doubt have discussed his plans for the club’s progress with the powers that be before taking the role, it will be interesting to see how the team shapes up in 2021 and what new faces we can expect to see.