Opposition Overview: Hull FC
Picture by Jack Wray/Super League Europe/via SWpix.com - 06/03/2021 - Super League Season 2021 Pre Season Location Video Shoot and Stills Photography Portraits. Hull FC - Jake Connor
Leeds Rhinos begin another run of three matches in eight days as Richard Agar’s side travel to the MKM Stadium to face Hull FC this Thursday, kick off 7:45pm.
Following their win over Salford, the Rhinos can go four points clear of Hull KR, who are sat in the sixth and above Hull FC on points alone with a win on Thursday night. Hull on the other hand can catch up with the top four should they get a favourable result.
Find out more about our opponents:
2021 so far..
Coming into the new season fresh from a play off appearance in 2020 and a new coach at the helm, the black and whites are set to be competing in the play offs once again. Eleven players departed over the off season and the club’s only recruit was Josh Reynolds from Wests Tigers but it seems to be working for Brett Hodgson. Against Huddersfield, Salford, Warrington and Wakefield, the black and whites remained unbeaten winning three and drawing one, with Reynolds starring alongside Marc Sneyd.
Having beaten Wigan for a place in the Challenge Cup semi finals, after the Warriors had edged Hull 16-14 the week before, the black and whites backed up a defeat to Catalans by beating Leeds by six points at Emerald Headingley.
Wins against Castleford, Leigh and Huddersfield bolstered them to fourth place – a position they have continued to occupy even though they haven’t played for the last three weeks due to postponements – until last week, when Hodgson’s side were finally back in action last Thursday against the Giants again; Jermaine McGillvary scoring four tries as Ian Watson’s team avenged their round 11 defeat with a 40-26 result.
The road only gets tougher for Hull over the next two weeks too as following the clash with Leeds on Thursday, they host the newly crowned Challenge Cup champions St Helens, Warrington and Catalans all in the space of 11 days before they finally meet derby rivals Hull KR.
Last Four Results
Since signing from the NRL at the start of the season, half back Josh Reynolds has settled alongside Marc Sneyd and has proved dangerous going forward.
Reynolds came to Super League with an impressive NRL resume. Starting at Canterbury Bulldogs, he helped the club to Grand Final appearances in 2012 and 2014, which they lost to Melbourne Storm and South Sydney Rabbitohs, and also earned State of Origin honours, especially in 2013 when, alongside Trent Hodgkinson, he helped end Queensland’s eight year winning run. After playing over 130 games for the Dogs, he signed for Wests Tigers but injury ended his Tigers’ career after only a handful of games. He later signed for Hull, following Brett Hodgson, who he had worked with at Wests Tigers, to the east coast.
So far this campaign, he has four tries in eight appearances. Those four tries came in the opening three rounds of the season against Huddersfield, Salford and Catalans but he does have three try assists in his last three games.
Hull FC stalwart and Man of Steel winner Danny Houghton is in his 14th season in the Betfred Super League and has only missed one game for Brett Hodgson this season.
Debuting with the Black and Whites in 2007, after coming through the club’s Academy, Houghton quickly established himself as a regular, mostly coming off the bench due to the likes of Sean Berrigan and Aaron Heremaia. In 2011, he finished as Super League’s top tackler and earned a call up to the England Knights, featuring against both Scotland and Ireland in the European Championships in 2012. The hooker was one of the driving forces that helped Hull reach the Challenge Cup Final in 2013, only to lose out to Wigan, and again Houghton finished the Super League campaign with the most tackles out of any player.
His best season came three years later in 2016 as Houghton was the competition’s leading hooker. Not only did he top the tackle charts once again, but he also made the match winning tackle on Ben Currie in the Challenge Cup Final that sealed Hull their first silverware for eleven years. At the end of the season, he became the first Hull player to lift the Man of Steel award, beating captain Gareth Ellis and Castleford Tigers winger Denny Solomona.
He lifted the Challenge Cup a year later as Hull became back to back winners but narrowly missed out on the Grand Final thanks to a Liam Sutcliffe try that sealed an 18-16 win for the Rhinos. He was appointed Hull’s captain going into the 2018 season and in 2020, he guided the black and whites to within one game of the Grand Final, only to lose out to Wigan.
This season, Houghton broke the rugby league record for the most tackles in a single match. He made 85 tackles against Warrington Wolves, surpassing the previous record held by Elijah Taylor, who made 77 tackles for Wests Tigers in a match against North Queensland Cowboys in 2015. He currently sits fourth for total tackles in the league, fifth in marker tackles and got his first try assist of the season last time out against Huddersfield.
Out of the current squads, only Leeds’ Tom Briscoe has played for both Hull FC and the Rhinos. Before joining Leeds in 2014, he came through the Hull youth system as a centre but emerged to play on the wing and a year after making his debut, he was called up to the England squad for the International game against Wales, aged just 19.
In 2010 he finished as Hull’s top try scorer with 16 and made the most clean breaks. He helped Hull to a Play Off finish in 2011 as joint top try scorer and best metre maker and was a try scorer in their Play Off Elimination loss to Leeds. He was named in that year’s Super League Dream Team. In 2012 he had his best attacking season for Hull, scoring 29 tries including three in their Play Off campaign. He played in two Challenge Cup Finals with Hull but lost to St Helens in 2008 and Wigan in 2013. Overall, he made 148 appearances for the black and whites and scored 90 tries.
Since joining Leeds he has lifted two Grand Final trophies (2015 and 2017), one League Leaders’ Shield and has scored tries in all of the Rhinos’ last three Challenge Cup Finals (1 in 2014, 5 in 2015 and 1 in 2020).
Last Game vs Leeds at Emerald Headingley
A hat trick from Man of the Match Ash Handley put the Leeds winger top of the Super League try charts last season when the Rhinos beat Hull FC 40-22 at Emerald Headingley.
A late change was made to the fixture schedule 24 hours before kick off following the return of three positive Covid-19 tests in the Castleford Tigers’ camp saw Hull FC step into fulfil the fixture despite having 12 players unavailable themselves.
Tickets and More Information
Tickets are now on sale for the Rhinos’ trip to the MKM Stadium on Thursday night. You can purchase tickets over the phone on 0371 423 1315 (Monday to Friday 10.30am – 3.30pm) or online at tickets.therhinos.co.uk.
Please be aware that the ticket office at Emerald Headingley Stadium is not open on non-match days.
Click here for more information.
The game will also be available to watch on Sky Sports Arena from 7:30pm