Hull FC

Match Preview

St James' Park

St Helens

Match Preview: Hull FC vs St Helens

Hullfc.com previews tomorrow’s Magic Weekend clash with St Helens at Newcastle’s St James’ Park.

Hull FC will be aiming to make it three Magic Weekend wins in a row and six successive victories in all competitions tomorrow afternoon when they and the rest of Super League make the trip to the north east for Magic Weekend where they will face St Helens.

The Black and Whites currently sit second in the league table and they could go top for a brief time with a win tomorrow.

The Saints, in seventh, will see their new coach Justin Holbrook arrive prior to tomorrow’s game, though former Hull man Sean Long and Jamahl Lolesi will remain in charge for tomorrow.

Team news

Head coach Lee Radford welcomes back trio Carlos Tuimavave, Sika Manu and Fetuli Talanoa to his 19-man squad for tomorrow’s game.

Mahe Fonua, Jake Connor and Gareth Ellis are absent this week. Youngsters Jansin Turgut, Jack Downs and Brad Fash keep their places in the squad.

The Saints are unchanged in their 19-man squad from last week’s Challenge Cup tie against Castleford Tigers and they’re still without full-back Jonny Lomax.

Setting the scene

Hull FC and St Helens contest for the Steve Prescott Cup in memory of former player Steve Prescott MBE, with the second leg taking place tomorrow.

The Airlie Birds have the upper hand so far after winning the first leg at the KCOM Stadium earlier this season, winning 24-14.

Hull clinched the Cup last year and will be hoping to retain the title with a third leg to come in the back end of the regular season.

The Saints, whose new boss Holbrook will oversee proceedings tomorrow afternoon, have two out of their last five in all competitions and will be hoping to pull themselves away from the lower reaches of the top eight if they are to secure a Super 8s berth.

Looking ahead to the game, Hull FC head coach Lee Radford said:“You never know what he’s quite thinking so you never know what his opinion of you is before he comes in and when he does land you want to set a good impression of yourself.

“I’m sure that will add some influence on their performance on Saturday.

“I’m not looking at the table at all. The four is the one - I’ve said that from day one.

“Nobody wins a trophy on Saturday and nobody losses one either. It’s very much about how it has been throughout the year and try and knock our opposition off and make sure we get our job right.”

Key men

Danny Houghton

The reigning Man of Steel Danny Houghton returned from injury against Widnes Vikings a couple of weeks ago and Hull’s number nine has provided a big impact since returning.

Houghton, who was the competition’s top tackler last year, missed just over a month of action and has made 325 tackles in Super League this season.

Danny Washbrook has filled in whilst Houghton has been on the sidelines and the former will feel more comfortable in his natural position of the back row.

Houghton has been big since his return from injury
Houghton has been big since his return from injury

Houghton will help the forwards get on the front foot tomorrow afternoon, with the likes of Scott Taylor and Liam Watts aiming to lay the platform for the backs.

James Roby

One of the most consistent performers in Super League, James Roby has been a staple of his hometown club’s side for 10 years.

The 2007 Man of Steel winner is sharp out of dummy half and is just as strong in defence, too.

Roby is a mainstay in the St Helens side
Roby is a mainstay in the St Helens side

The England international was out of action for all of April, but came back at the beginning of May when the Saints took on Warrington Wolves.

The 31-year-old has made 74 runs from dummy half, 285 tackles and has assisted five tries.

Squads

Hull FC: Shaul, Tuimavave, Griffin, Talanoa, Kelly, Sneyd, Taylor, Houghton, Watts, Minichiello, Green, Thompson, Washbrook, Michaels, Manu, Bowden, Turgut, Downs, Fash

St Helens: Makinson, Morgan, Percival, Swift, Fages, Smith, Walmsley, Roby, Amor, Wilkin, McCarthy-Scarsbrook, Douglas, Thompson, Lee, Peyroux, Richards, Knowles, Grace, Taia