A new era at Hull FC
Hull FC welcomed two new additions to the club for the start of 2021 - head coach Brett Hodgson and half-back Josh Reynolds swapping Western Sydney for West Hull as they link up with their new side ready for the 2021 Betfred Super League season.
Hodgson takes on his first head coaching position after earning his stripes as an assistant coach - most recently working under Michael Maguire at NRL side West Tigers.
The new Hull FC coach will be hoping to emulate Maguire’s Super League stint - the West Tigers head coach enjoyed a hugely successful period with Wigan Warriors, winning a Grand Final in his maiden season back in 2010.
Hodgson explained: "I spoke to Madge a couple of times about a few different things, he obviously had great success here and with South Sydney.
He continued: "I did seek out some guidance on a couple of little things and will be looking to put that into what we’re doing."
Hodgson - a former Man of Steel winner – is no stranger to Super League himself. He enjoyed hugely successful playing stints at Huddersfield Giants and Warrington Wolves, followed by a coaching role with Widnes Vikings before heading back home to Australia.
That familiarity with the competition and the Hull club has helped Hodgson highlight some key attributes that he believes are the foundations to a successful Hull team - and something he is determined to inject into his side.
He said: "The DNA of the club was one that was a very physical team, hard to break down, and with some very high-quality players that worked hard for each other.
"That’s what we’re trying to instil again in this team."
And Hodgson believes that new recruit Josh Reynolds is the perfect player to drive those standards at the club - the half-back possessing the qualities that Hull’s new head coach is eager to implement both on and off the field.
Hodgson explained: "I think when we talk about Josh coming over it epitomises what we’re looking for; his effort, hard work and making sure he’ll fight for his mate next to him.
"That’s what I believe this team needs to be, and that’s what we’re striving for."
⚫⚪ FC 🔥
2020 round 1, Some beauties from @hullfcofficial as they beat the Rhinos#SuperLeague pic.twitter.com/8U17sfm48a
— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) January 25, 2021
The past couple of years have been anything but smooth sailing for Hull FC's new half back - an injury-hit stint at West Tigers has left Reynolds determined to get back to his best.
At his peak, Reynolds earned State of Origin representative honours as well multiple NRL Grand Final appearances with the Canterbury Bulldogs, alongside Super League legend James Graham.
Highly revered on both sides of the equator, Graham is one of Reynolds closest friends and someone Reynolds regards highly as a player and mate. Although their close-knit friendship does have its downfalls…
"I don’t take advice off him, he’s a mad man! he’s given me some bad advice over the times," He said, jokingly.
He continued: "Even talking to a few of the boys who have played with him over here, they’ve got nothing but massive wraps for him, just as a bloke too.
"It’s probably the best thing I get from our friendship, he’s always been there to help.
"I asked him what he thinks (about playing in Super League) and he thought it’d be perfect for me. It’s probably what I needed at this time in my career."
Reynolds will be hoping to have a similar impact that fellow NRL imports have made in recent seasons – half-backs Blake Austin, Aidan Sezer and former Man of Steel Jackson Hastings have enjoyed great spells since they've arrived in Super League.
Reynolds observed: "They have come over and gone really well. I watched a fair few of the games when I was back home and to see them going well is good to see.
"I think it (Super League) will suit me, the conditions are a bit wetter than back home at stages and that means you’ve got to kick into corners and try and force the opposition into errors," He explained.
"I feel like that’s a part of my game that I can bring to the team. I think if we get it right, we’ll be amongst the top teams.
"In saying that, I think we need to work on our combinations and make sure we get them right before round one."
With the opening round of Super League fixtures eight weeks away, Reynolds will have plenty of time to work on his combinations with his new teammates - ensuring they are firing on all cylinders as they aim to challenge for honours in 2021.
📆 New Year
🏉 New Coach
😷 New Normal for pre-season
📸 @hullfcofficial #SuperLeague pic.twitter.com/qi0gMemKou
— Betfred Super League (@SuperLeague) January 8, 2021