Tony Smith says he was pleased with his side’s defensive improvements in Friday’s defeat to St Helens.
In a tight affair at the Totally Wicked Stadium, Hull came up agonizingly short against the World Champions ultimately going down 20-12.
Hull remained in the contest until the final minutes of the game when Jon Bennison’s late score sealed the win for the hosts, just minutes after what would likely have been a match winning effort from Brad Dwyer, who’s misjudgement of a bouncing ball squandered what looked to have been a crucial certain try.
Speaking after the match, Smith said: “It was a big improvement from us, and that’s what we needed. We didn’t get the victory, we gave ourselves a chance to by playing well – there was a couple of tries that we gifted them still, and we didn’t quite do ourselves justice there
“Aside from that, in terms of commitment to each other and to the badge, our defence was much more improved, desperate and aligned.
“You’d hope that tonight is a sign of working progress and improvements, but we now have to turn up with that attitude every single week. We’ve come to the World Champions tonight, and after our performance last week you’d imagine there might have been a bit of fear of what Saints might do to us, so we’ve got to find that confidence in what we can produce in both attack and defence.
“Once you get those things cracked, you become a consistent team.”
On the late missed chances in the game, he added: “It’s a game of split seconds and fine margins – Cam Scott and Brad Dwyer on another night might have taken those chances at the end of the game. But they’re all ifs and maybes.”
He continued: “It was one of the better games of Rugby League this year, especially on a slippery surface. Considering that, there wasn’t a lot of errors and there was a good quality of defence. We played some good rugby at times. It certainly wasn’t five drives and a kick either. It was a good advert for the game.”
Smith also gave praise to young back Davy Litten, who made his first senior appearance of the season.
“Davy went well – he came up with some great decisions in defence. He’ll take confidence from his efforts, especially playing out of his favoured position.
“You could pick him anywhere in the team and he’s give it a fiar crack. He did a good job and I’m proud of him. He’s had an outstanding pre-season and his first game for the Reserves was terrific. There’s more from him to come but I thought he took his opportunity really well.”
Tony Smith is proudly sponsored by Rowe Freight. To find out more – click here