Match Report: Doncaster RLFC 24-42 Hull FC

Match Report: Doncaster RLFC 24-42 Hull FC

On a bitterly cold afternoon in South Yorkshire Hull FC ran in seven tries to beat Doncaster in their second pre-season encounter.

Club News

On a bitterly cold afternoon in South Yorkshire Hull FC ran in seven tries to beat Doncaster in their second pre-season encounter.

Liam Tindall bagged a brace on his first appearance in Black & White, with tries also coming from Joe Cator, Tex Hoy, Morgan Smith, Franklin Pele and Jack Brown.

A serious looking injury to Jordan Lane in the closing stages saw referee Chris Kendall call time early with three minutes to play – the back-rower was stretchered from the field after full-time.

Team News

Hull FC stepped up their preparations for the Betfred Super League campaign in their second pre-season friendly against Richard Horne’s Doncaster side.

Eight of Hull’s new signings made their first run out of 2024, with Franklin Pele, Jayden Okunbor and Herman Ese’ese making their first appearance on English soil.

Hull’s outside backs had a familiar feel, with Liam Tindall the only new face, taking his place on the left wing.

A pair of new signings lined up at half back, with Morgan Smith and New Zealand international Fa’amanu Brown guiding Hull’s pack, which featured new men Ese’ese, Pele and Okunbor, whilst Joe Cator and Ligi Sao featured in unfamiliar positions and hooker and second row respectively. Brad Fash locked the scrum and led out Hull as captain, having been recently appointed vice captain.

Hull FC Hall of Fame member Richard Horne’s Doncaster side contained several faces familiar to Super League fans, headlined by new signings Reece Lyne, Alex Sutcliffe and Pauli Pauli.

Horne’s side also contained Hull FC Academy graduates Ilikaya Mafi, Jude Thompson, Craig Hall, and Luke Briscoe, whilst former Black & White Joe Lovodua started the game at hooker for the Dons.

The Match

Hull got off to a flying start at the Eco-Power Stadium, scoring three unanswered tries in the first 10 minutes, with the Dons not touching the ball between the three scores.

The first came after a knock on by Tom Halliday gifted Hull possession in position to attack. Fa’amanu Brown straightened up the attack with a carry at pace, which gave Ligi Sao a platform to take the next. The Samoan international turned in the tackle and offloaded to Joe Cator who threw a dummy and went through the gap for his first try at any level since 2020!

Hull’s next score came quickly after, Herman Ese’ese took a huge carry though the middle. Tex Hoy on the next tackle looked to have nothing on, stepped back inside twice and glided through a gap to score next to the posts.

The third try in concession again had Herman Ese’ese’s finger prints all over it. A 15 meter carry from the Kiwi international took Hull to the 40, Brown broke through the line and found a pass to Liam Sutcliffe who showed nice hands to pass to Liam Tindall showing lightning pace to score.

From there, Doncaster grew into the game and went set for set with the Black & Whites, and at the midway point of the half got on the scoreboard. Joe Lovodua’s pass from dummy half found Sam Smeaton running a nice line to get the Dons off the mark.

The Black & Whites scored the next try of the game, Liam Tindall getting his second of the afternoon, again showing great acceleration to score. Cator’s offload found Morgan Smith, who threw a lovely pass to Sutcliffe who again showed nice hands to feed Tindall to race away and score. In the act of scoring Tindall was caught by Tom Halliday with a high tackle which resulted in a yellow card and an eight point try.

From the resulting kick-off though, Hull made an error, and Luke Briscoe dived in in the corner from the scrum for the final try of the half.

Half Time: Doncaster RLFC 12 – 24 Hull FC

Tony Smith made five changes at the break, bringing off Carlos Tuimavave, Liam Sutcliffe, Ligi Sao, Jayden Okunbor and Herman Ese’ese, who didn’t return for the second period.

Despite the changes, Hull got the first points of the second half. Another Joe Cator break on the inside of the ruck created an opportunity, and he found an offload to Jack Walker, who passed to Morgan Smith as he reached the full back, and Smith just had enough pace to score by the posts to cap off an impressive first appearance in Black & White.

Another making their first appearance in Hull FC colours got the next try of the blustery afternoon in West Yorkshire, as Franklin Pele charged over for Hull’s next try. The big forward took Joe Cator’s pass close to the line and had the strength to ground the ball with the attention of several Dons defenders.

Doncaster again narrowed the deficit with the next score, Pauli Pauli carrying at speed, picking out Jeylan Hodgson to barrell over to score.

Hull scored next, to reassert their dominance. Jeylan Hodgson giving Jack Brown a pass on the last tackle. Brown stepped twice and beat the Dons defence to score next to the posts.

The Dons scored the final points of the afternoon, Pauli Pauli getting over amongst several Hull defenders for his second of the match.

The match ended on a sour note for Hull, as Jordan Lane was on the receiving end of some friendly fire from Franklin Pele and had to be taken off the field with a neck injury on a stretcher with what looked a serious injury.

After consultation with head coaches Tony Smith and Richard Horne, referee Chris Kendall called time with three minutes to play. Lane was stretchered from the field some ten minutes later.

Full Time: Doncaster RLFC 24-s 42 Hull FC


Doncaster RLFC: Josh Guzdek, Thomas Halliday, Bradley Hey, Reece Lyne, Luke Briscoe, Ben Johnston, Connor Robinson, Suaia Matagi, Joe Lovodua, Keelan Foster, Sam Smeaton, Alex Sutcliffe, Brad Knowles.

Interchange: Loui McConnell, Ilikaya Mafi, Pauli Pauli, Alex Holdstock, Jude Thompson, Jose Kenga, Craig Hall, Watson Boas, Jason Tali

Hull FC: Tex Hoy, Darnell McIntosh, Carlos Tuimavave, Liam Sutcliffe, Liam Tindall, Morgan Smith, Fa’amanu Brown, Herman Ese’ese, Joe Cator, Franklin Pele, Jayden Okunbor, Ligi Sao, Brad Fash

Interchange: Jack Ashworth, Jack Brown, Jack Charles, Will Gardiner, Jeylan Hodgson, Jordan Lane, Davy Litten, Lewis Martin, Cam Scott, Charlie Severs, Nick Staveley, Jack Walker

The Scorers:

Doncaster RLFC Tries: Sam Smeaton (22), Luke Briscoe (35), Pauli Pauli (58, 75)

Doncaster RLFC Goals: Connor Robinson (4/4)

Hull FC Tries: Joe Cator (5), Tex Hoy (7), Liam Tindall (10, 32), Morgan Smith (50), Franklin Pele (55), Jack Brown (67)

Hull FC Goals: Liam Sutcliffe (4/5), Darnell McIntosh (3/3)