While it’s still very much early days in Super League, a win for Hull FC over Castleford Tigers on Thursday night may well lead to FC fans believing 2016 could be their year.
After numerous seasons of wholesale changes to their squad – with very little to show for it – the Airlie Birds have made a great start to the new campaign, winning their first two games to sit top of the embryonic Super League table.
One of those wins was away at Catalans Dragons, a feat achieved by only two sides last year, highlighting the great strides Hull FC seem to have made in such a short space of time.
Their recruitment for 2016 focused on NRL stars, including blockbusting forwards Frank ‘the Tank’ Pritchard and Sika Manu, as well as strike three-quarters Carlos Tuimavave and Mahe Fonua, the latter of which is currently out injured. They also picked up Scott Taylor from Salford and brought Danny Washbrook back to the club.
Their new squad seems to have gelled well in the early stages, and should they maintain their 100% record with a win over the Tigers at the KC Stadium – they are 1/3 favourites to do so – it would send a statement to the rest of Super League that they are a genuine threat this season.
Castleford, however, have become very real contenders themselves under the stewardship of Daryl Powell over the last two seasons, and would have held a 100% record had it not been for a last-gasp conversion for Hull KR in round one.
They have become synonymous with a free-flowing, attractive style of play, and the addition of Joel Monaghan to replace Justin Carney means they’ve kept their strike power out wide.
And that’s before you factor in the frightening pace and finishing ability of their other winger Denny Solomona, who is 10/1 to grab the first try of the game.
They eased past Wakefield in their last outing and will undoubtedly provide Hull FC a great test to see whether Lee Radford’s Airlie Birds really are challengers for silverware this season.
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