Match Preview: Hull FC vs Wakefield Trinity
Boosted by three straight wins, Hull FC prepare to face Wakefield Trinity at the KCOM Stadium tomorrow (7.45pm kick-off).
Aware that a four-point gap can be bridged with a win tomorrow, the stakes are high for the Black & Whites, who could take a crucial two points away from top five rivals Wakefield.
Trinity lost out against Hull Kingston Rovers last Sunday, beaten 10-6 by the Robins on home soil in testing wet and windy conditions.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of tomorrow’s big game at the KCOM Stadium!
What’s the team news?
Lee Radford has made just one change to his 19-man squad from the side that defeated Leeds Rhinos 34-10 last time out, with Mickey Paea unavailable due to a rib injury.
23-year-old prop Brad Fash comes into the squad in Paea’s place.
New recruit Andre Savelio makes the trip from Australia to the UK this weekend, meaning he is unavailable to face Trinity this week. However, the former Albert Goldthorpe Rookie of the Year could be in contention for next weekend’s trip to face London Broncos.
Fijian winger Ratu Naulago has scored four tries in his first three appearances for Hull FC, and he is called upon once again.
In timely fashion for tomorrow’s game, Matty Ashurst returns for Trinity after a week on the sidelines. The back-rower picked up a knee injury in Wakefield’s win over Leeds recently, but he is in contention to face the Black & Whites.
Youngster Jordan Crowther also comes into Wakefield’s 19-man squad, with James Batchelor and Keegan Hirst dropping out.
FC 19-man squad: Jamie Shaul, Bureta Faraimo, Carlos Tuimavave, Josh Griffin, Albert Kelly, Marc Sneyd, Scott Taylor, Danny Houghton, Dean Hadley, Mark Minichiello, Joe Westerman, Jordan Thompson, Masi Matongo, Brad Fash, Sika Manu, Jordan Lane, Jez Litten, Ratu Naulago, Gareth Ellis
Trinity 19-man squad: Ryan Hampshire, Tom Johnstone, Bill Tupou, Reece Lyne, Ben Jones-Bishop, Jacob Miller, Danny Brough, David Fifita, Kyle Wood, Anthony England, Matty Ashurst, Danny Kirmond, Justin Horo, Craig Kopczak, Tinirau Arona, Joe Arundel, George King, Pauli Pauli, Jordan Crowther
What’s the lowdown on Trinity?
Like Hull, Chris Chester’s Wakefield side had to wait until Round 3 for their first points of the season. But after backing up a home win against Catalans Dragons with a spectacular performance against Leeds Rhinos, many tipped the West Yorkshire side to really hit their straps.
But they were dealt a major blow after suffering a home defeat to Hull KR last time out, disrupting what could have been the start of a strong run of form.
No doubt Wakefield will be eager to get back out on the field to make amends against the Black & Whites, but this week they come up against a Hull FC side determined to make the most of an incentive of their own.
The Airlie Birds have lost their last three meetings with Wakefield in all competitions, so Lee Radford’s side will want to set the record straight tomorrow.
What’s the memorable match?
After scoring a crucial try against boyhood club Wakefield in what was thought to be his KCOM Stadium farewell, Gareth Ellis probably didn’t see himself potentially lining up to face Trinity again in 2019.
Ellis’ 70th minute try in that thrilling Super 8s meeting back in 2017 was far from the end of the drama, as Marc Sneyd went onto land a drop-goal, extending Hull FC’s lead to 19-12.
It had proved to be an impressive comeback from the hosts, who trailed 12-0 after former FC players Joe Arundel and Jacob Miller crossed the whitewash. Mahe Fonua and Marc Sneyd levelled the scores before that all-important Ellis try.
After Sneyd’s field goal, Mason Caton-Brown’s late try was converted for Trinity. But Liam Finn pulled a last-gasp drop-goal attempt just wide of the uprights, giving Hull a vital win to help them reach the play-off semi-finals.
Who are the one’s to watch?
FC: Joe Westerman has emerged as one of Hull FC’s standout performers so far this season, and after a breathtaking first half against Leeds Rhinos last time out, the loose forward was given some well-deserved rest on the interchange bench for the second half. That 40 minute break from action may well do Westerman the world of good. His ball-playing attributes could be a key asset for the Black & Whites against Wakefield.
WT: Super League’s joint-top try scorer may have felt hard done by to miss out on England’s Test series against New Zealand last autumn, but Tom Johnstone must be one of Wayne Bennett’s number one edge candidates for the next international fixture. The left winger has picked up in 2019 where he left off in 2018, scoring six tries in his first five appearances, including some outstanding acrobatic efforts.
What are the match details?
Where: KCOM Stadium, Walton Street, Hull, HU3 6HU
When: Friday 15th March, 7.45pm kick-off
Tickets: These can be bought from the Ticket Zone in the East Stand of the KCOM Stadium tomorrow. You can also buy online here. Call 01482 505 600 to book over the phone.