Match Preview: Hull FC vs Wakefield Trinity
Hullfc.com previews tomorrow’s eagerly anticipated Super 8s clash with Wakefield Trinity, as the race for the top four heats up.
After starting the Super 8s campaign with back-to-back victories, the Black & Whites haven’t tasted victory in the league since their trip to the Totally Wicked Stadium last month.
Wakefield have also won just two of their five Super 8s fixtures this season, but they’ll be out to avenge their last result, with Jonny Lomax’s late try for St Helens sealing an important win for Justin Holbrook’s men.
Hull FC head coach Lee Radford is still waiting on Tongan winger Fetuli Talanoa, who could return from an elbow injury.
Radford does have captain Gareth Ellis back at his disposal, with the skipper set to feature in his last game at the KCOM Stadium, along with fellow leavers Mahe Fonua and Steve Michaels.
Chris Green remains on the sidelines after his appendix was recently removed.
Loanee Dean Hadley is the only change for the visitors, who is suspended but would not have been able to feature against his parent club anyway, so hooker Kyle Wood comes into the 19-man squad upon his return from injury.
They’ve been the dark horses this season, testing the waters of the top four, but Wakefield Trinity are now in danger of sinking out of a play-off spot.
Chris Chester’s side travel to the KCOM Stadium in fifth place, knowing a victory will see them leapfrog Hull in the top four.
League Leaders’ Shield winners Castleford Tigers and second-place Leeds Rhinos have secured their places in the top four, as well as home play-off semi-finals, and the remaining two spots are being closely contested by a plethora of teams, with FC and Wakefield heading into tomorrow’s all-important game knowing two points will be massive.
Trinity were unlucky in their last outing, but were ousted by an equally desperate St Helens, who still have top four aspirations of their own.
Fullback Scott Grix was criticised for Lomax’s late try last week, but many people jumped in to defend the former Huddersfield Giants man, who has been an integral part of Wakefield’s season.
Grix has scored eight tries in Super League this season, including his effort against the Airlie Birds on the opening day of the season.
The 33-year-old has profited from the hard work of Wakefield’s middles, who work tirelessly both in defence and attack.
One man who exemplifies that hard work is back rower Matty Ashurst, who has completed 881 tackles this season, the sixth highest tackler in Super League.
The aforementioned forward Tyler Randell will be the main man on Hull FC’s eyes tomorrow, with his dynamic versatility often confusing opposition.
With his NRL know-how, the former Newcastle Knight has brought a breath of fresh air into the Wakefield squad, and a dream debut against Salford Red Devils saw the 25-year-old cross for a double.
Randell can feature at hooker, loose forward and in the halves, so his versatility gives way for positional changes throughout the 80 minutes.
Not only is Randell versatile, but he is renowned for his leadership qualities. He co-captained the Newcastle Knights Auckland Nines side last season and made it to the quarter finals.
The Mutual Man
Two mutually connected clubs will put friendships aside tomorrow night, and the same applies for former Trinity youngster Gareth Ellis.
The Hull FC skipper began his career with the West Yorkshire-based side in 1999, and will play his last home game for Hull tomorrow night against the club it all began for the former Great Britain and England star.
The 36-year-old enjoyed a six-year spell before his rugby league career propelled furthermore.
Now set to feature in his final home game for the Black & Whites, Ellis will be caught up in an emotional rollercoaster as he pursues his ambition to reach a Grand Final for one last time.
His leadership qualities, inherited from former Wakefield coach John Harbin, will come to surface as he attempts to guide his fellow comrades to a crucial two points.
Hull FC: Shaul, Fonua, Tuimavave, Griffin, Talanoa, Kelly, Sneyd, Taylor, Houghton, Watts, Minichiello, Ellis, Connor, Thompson, Washbrook, Michaels, Manu, Bowden, Fash.
Wakefield Trinity: Grix, Tupou, Lyne, Jones-Bishop, Miller, Finn, England, Wood, Ashurst, Kirmond, Arona, Huby, Arundel, Fifita, Hirst, Caton-Brown, Annakin, Hasson, Randell.