Jake Connor has said last week’s performance against Castleford Tigers must be repeated if the Black & Whites are to progress to the Coral Challenge Cup semi-finals with victory over Wigan on Saturday.
Hull face the Warriors in the quarter-finals of the competition at the AJ Bell Stadium in a repeat of the 2017 Final which saw claim their second consecutive triumph in the competition.
And Connor believes that Hull must put in a similar effort to the one that saw Hull down the Tigers 29-16 in St Helens.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, brought to you in association with Jacuzzi®, the half-back began by expressing his delight to succeeding in the spot in recent weeks with some positive performances.
Speaking on developing in the half-back spot over the last few weeks, Connor said: “I’m definitely growing into it. I had a tough first few games there but I’m finding my feet now and getting better every week which is a pleasing sign.
“I’m enjoying playing there. I’m finding it different when you play scrum-half to stand-off as you have to do a lot more organising but I’m proving with every game.
“Sometime you just hit a bad patch but you just need to go through the motions when that happens. I’m finding my feet now and feeling good in that position.
“If I manage to keep my spot week in, week out, that consistency should come. When you’re playing in the same spot every week, it really helps.”
Looking ahead to Saturday’s game against Wigan, Connor believes a similar performance is needed to the one that saw Hull defeat Castleford in the quarter-finals last weekend, with younger members of the squad set to play another big part.
“We have to play exactly the same way we played against Castleford. If our pack turns up like it did in that game, we won’t be far off in the game. The outside-backs polished off that performance but our middles were outstanding – they didn’t lack any energy and putting their ball players under pressure for eighty minutes. We need to match that.
“Our youngsters have been huge – the games we have won after lockdown, we might not have if those blokes hadn’t put in the performance they did. Joe Cator is making 50 tackles a game, he isn’t the biggest blokes but his energy and fitness has been massive.
“Jordan Lane has been outstanding; he is one of the best line-runners in the game at the moment, and Jack Brown has been outstanding too. If you’re good enough, you keep your spot.”
On the Warriors, he added: “Wigan are a top side. It is always going to be tough and they’re going to want to bounce back from their defeat to Hull KR. We need an eight minute performance, that’s for sure.”
Connor also hailed the potential return of Marc Sneyd, who has been named in the 21-man squad despite being expected to miss up to another five weeks with an ankle injury sustained against Huddersfield in August.
“It’ll be a big boost if he plays. With Albert missing too, we’ll be glad to have him back this week. He’s the voice of the team and controls things with his kicking game. It means for me I don’t have to worry about organising the middles about, I’ll leave that to him I’ll play my own game off the back of that.”
The fixture will be Hull’s third match in ten days, but Connor says the team must just get on with the challenging fixture list.
“It’s not nice, but we’ll get on with it. Going into that Wakefield game, we had the mindset that we wanted to give our legs for the Challenge Cup game on the Sunday but it doesn’t always work out like that, especially with it going right down to the wire.
“Physically it is a challenge and I’ve only really just started feeling fresh again today, but we’ve got to play what’s in front of us. Every other team is going through the same challenge so it is no excuse.
“It’s a huge competition, and its still as prestigious as it always has been so there is no reason why we won’t be up for this. We always seem to get up for these matches and it means a lot to everybody here at the club. That pressure of knock-out footy seems to spur us on.”