Irrespective of the result, Tony Smith says yesterday’s pre-season friendly with Sheffield Eagles was a good hit out.
As the Black & Whites completed a second-half comeback in South Yorkshire, a total of 26 players got their first taste of action in 2023.
The visitors trailed 20-12 at the interval, but a youthful squad kept the Eagles scoreless in the second-half, as tries from Danny Houghton and Cam Scott secured a 22-20 win.
But Smith insists that he wasn’t going to judge his players on the yesterday’s result.
“It was never going to be about the result and I thought it was a good hit out for us – a chance to blow off the cobwebs,” Smith said.
“We knew there would be some stuff in the game that we need to fix, but you have to go through the pain of that process in pre-season.
“But I thought it was a good hit out for us in many ways and I thought we got better as the game went on. We controlled things and played the way we wanted to play, particularly at the speed we wanted to play at.”
There were a handful of players making their first appearances in Hull FC colours at Olympic Legacy Park yesterday afternoon.
NRL imports Tex Hoy and Jake Clifford were given a bitterly cold introduction to rugby league in the UK as they started the match, with hooker Brad Dwyer coming off the bench later on in the first-half.
And Smith was pleased with what he saw from the trio.
“I thought they [Tex Hoy & Jake Clifford] showed some good signs considering that was their first run out in English conditions,” he said.
“Each of them showed how exciting they’re going to be for us. But more than anything, it was important for them to just play today.
“Many Australians come over and fail to rip it up immediately – I just thought the earlier I could give those two 40 minutes under their belts, under those circumstances, the better they will be for it.
“Brad [Dwyer] was good, as well. I thought he sped the game up. He came on and he was electric, so we didn’t learn anything more from that.
“He still gets me excited in the way he plays and I think most other people feel the same way.”