Hull FC Super League

Kelly set to miss season opener

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Hull FC half-back Albert Kelly looks set to miss the start of the season due to injury after being absent for yesterday’s match against St Helens.

The injury, picked up against Wakefield Trinity last weekend, was initially believed to be little cause for concern but his absence on Saturday led to head coach Lee Radford admitting that the former Hull KR man is likely to be ruled out of their opening Super League match against his former team. Post-match, Radford told the media that only Mickey Paea has a realistic chance of being fit and ready for round one out of the players currently absent.

Without Kelly in their ranks, the Airlie Birds lost to St Helens yesterday in Jonny Lomax’s testimonial, going down 28-18 in their last match before the Super League season commences. The scoreline has been perceived as flattering to the Hull side with Saints dominating either side of the break, although the Black and Whites did show their quality at times in the opening period. With the hosts outscoring FC by six tries to three, it was solely their profligacy with the boot – missing four conversions – which meant they only won by ten. Indeed, Hull FC scored two late tries through Jamie Shaul and Bureta Faraimo to close the deficit but, nevertheless, it will have done both teams good to have faced Super League opposition in their final game of pre-season.


Hull FC Super League

Hull FC new boys giving Radford food for thought

As they aim to drastically improve after a poor second half to 2018, Hull FC and head coach Lee Radford are well into their preparations for next year’s Super League season with five weeks of training under their belts already.

Radford, who has been very outspoken about his discontent with his team’s showings towards the end of last season, has explained how he will be using the Airlie Birds’ three pre-season friendlies to fine tune his first-choice seventeen rather than giving wholesale appearances to youngsters and fringe players. It is believed that newcomer Danny Langtree – recently arrived from Oldham – has impressed Radford greatly in training thus far, as has Jordan Thompson, the forward returning to the club after a season away with Leigh and Leeds. The latter has reportedly been one of the more determined characters in training and, with the rule changes regarding interchanges coming in, his nature as a forward who can do big minutes will certainly count in his favour.

Furthermore, the head coach has confirmed that his FC squad won’t be given an extended break over Christmas – unlike cross-city rivals Hull KR who are set to give their players a twelve day break over the festive period. Instead, the Black and Whites are set for four days off, returning to training on the 27th of December. The weekend prior to Christmas will see the club throw a special Christmas party for the players, staff and their families. The team will then prepare for their 6th January friendly against Doncaster before matches against Wakefield and St Helens before their season-opening Hull derby at the end of the month.


England seal series victory

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England beat New Zealand 20-14 at Anfield this afternoon to seal a series victory over the visiting Kiwis with St Helens flying winger Tommy Makinson scoring an impressive hat-trick in just his third international appearance.

The game was in the balance at half-time with the teams level with six points apiece after a Jake Connor penalty and an uncoverted Makinson try were matched by New Zealand captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak’s try and Shaun Johnson’s conversion. A Watene-Zelezniak break led to a Ken Maumolo score, the centre able to run the ball in with ease and, after Johnson scored a second conversion and followed it up with a penalty goal, the Kiwis led 14-6 with half an hour remaining.

Then, the England left edge took over. Hitting back as they aimed to close down New Zealand’s lead, the ball made it’s way cross field and, after Jonny Lomax’s pass to Jake Connor in the centres, the Hull FC man produced a sublime tip along to send Makinson in from yards out. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful but it wouldn’t be long before England built on Makinson’s second and tied the game. Quick thinking from hooker Josh Hodgson at dummy half saw the Canberra man play from dummy half yards from the line, giving Raiders teammate Elliott Whitehead the ball and, when the back rower provided Connor with the ball, England’s number three was over in the corner.

Another unsuccessful conversion attempt left the score level and it remained that way until the 73rd minute. That was when Makinson scored the try of the match, a try which proved to be the gamebreaker. After Lomax ran wide with the ball and threw wider to Connor, the move seemed to break down after the centre’s pass to Makinson was behind him, seemingly stopping the momentum. However, the Saints winger had other ideas. Seeing a gap open up, he demonstrated lightning speed to seize the opportunity, sidestepping and weaving through the Kiwis defence. Despite the tackles thrown at him, the 27-year-old reached the line and, after referee Gerard Sutton referred the score to the video official, the try was confirmed.

With that – and after Sam Tomkins’ successful conversion – the match was won and, with it, the series. With a game to spare, Wayne Bennett’s England team have triumphed over Michael Maguire’s Kiwis and, with the Baskerville Shield secured, the teams will go to Leeds and Elland Road next Sunday with England aiming for a series whitewash while New Zealand will be driven to avoid that unwanted feat.

London Broncos Super League

Abdull keen to prove his worth with Broncos

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After London Broncos confirmed the signing of Hull FC’s Jordan Abdull on a one-year permanent deal, the 22-year-old admitted that he has a point to prove in Super League after joining the capital club.

Abdull handed in a transfer request in August, surprising many Hull FC fans, keen to secure more regular rugby league which was hard to come by with the Airlie Birds. Because the half-back – who also played at loose-forward – had a year remaining on his deal with Lee Radford’s team, the Broncos have paid an undisclosed fee to bring the youngster to London.

While he handed the transfer request in three months ago, the interest from the Broncos only surfaced in the last week and Abdull thanked both clubs for getting the deal completed in such hasty fashion.  “It’s a credit to both clubs for making it happen so quickly,” he told the media. “I do want to thank Hull for how they’ve handled the situation and how smoothly they’ve been able to get the deal done with London.”

Indeed, 2019 will mark the first campaign of Abdull’s career where he is playing his club rugby outside of the north. During his time with Hull FC – who he made over fifty appearances for – he experienced loan spells with Doncaster, Featherstone and cross-city rivals Hull KR, helping the latter win promotion back to Super League in 2016. After securing his move, one which is likely to provide him with a regular first-team jersey, he admitted that the pressure is now on him to show his class. “I do feel very fortunate and blessed, but I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason,” he explained, adding that “hopefully I can have a good year on the field and help the side in every way that I can.”

Abdull also revealed that he is excited at being a part of a team who plays such an expansive style of rugby league while teaming up with hooker James Cunningham and maverick pivot Jarrod Sammut was part of London’s lure. The Broncos’ head coach Danny Ward was also eager to see how Abdull both complements and adds to the capital club’s team. “We are very pleased to have Jordan on board at the Broncos,” Ward told the media. “He is an exciting, young British half-back who already has Super League experience with Hull FC. He’s a player I have liked since I coached the Academy against him a few years ago and am now really looking forward to working with him as we move into the 2019 season.”