Andy Last has praised Hull’s improved defensive resolve in their 18-16 victory over Huddersfield Giants on Tuesday evening.
The Black & Whites ran out victors over Luke Robinson’s side for the second time at the Halliwell Jones Stadium this season, with a late Marc Sneyd penalty goal sealing the win after a free-flowing clash between the two sides.
And Last explained that Hull’s improved defence was a key asset in the performance.
Speaking after the game, Last said: “It was a really tough encounter. There were two desperate teams out there.
“The first forty minutes was a really high-quality game; the ball was in play a lot and both teams completed at a high-rate – we was at 91% out of yardage for example at half-time, and 76% overall.
“At half-time, we spoke about how quick the game was. There wasn’t many breaks in play. It was exactly what we needed as we’d spoken in the week about putting an eighty minute performance in.
“We had some strong spells in there, and some bits we need to work on, but the gap between those two ends of the spectrum wasn’t as big as it has been in recent weeks so I’m pleased with the consistency we showed throughout the game.
He added: “This result will do us the world of good from a confidence point of view.”
Last explained Hull’s imporved defence on the night, and gave credit to Jacuzzi Elite Performance Man of the Match Joe Cator for his effort in the victory.
“The defensive resolve was there tonight. We had a harsh review after the Leeds game, looking at detail in certain areas, our ruck had to be better, and it was.
“And our middle did a really good job in that area tonight. Little things like the kick-pressure, and kick-chase was brilliant. There seemed to be a collective effort throughout.
“Joe was brilliant. The modern-day game suits him down to the ground. He isn’t the biggest middle, but I’d argue that he is the fittest in the competition.
“When we look at the stats, Joe will be up there again with his off the ball supports. His efforts make a difference for the likes of Josh Bowden, Ligi Sao and Chris Satae who are around him. All the off the ball work he does is so important for the team, and his enthusiasm is infectious.
On the injury front, Last added: “Chris Satae took a fair whack on his leg – it could be a dead leg.
“What we’re seeing with him is because he is such a big ball carrier, most first contacts with him are for the opposition to take his legs out, a bit like Alex Walmsley. It was a legitimate tackle but he’s taken a fair old shoulder just above the knee cap.”
Looking ahead to Sunday’s game against Castleford, he said: “Castleford are going to be fresh, and we’ve actually done them a favour by giving them two weeks preparation time having stood in for them at Leeds last week, so that should be a ding-dong game. Castleford will have a full deck of cards to pick from but we should have some bodies back.”