Hull FC forward Mark Minichiello has described the experience of the Hull derby with cross-city rivals Hull KR as something not too dissimilar to State of Origin as the two sides prepare to lock horns again this weekend.
FC and KR close out this year’s Magic Weekend on Sunday, when the Black and Whites will hope to continue their assault on the top four while also inflicting Rovers’ relegation worries.
And Minichiello told TotalRL he holds the derby fixtures in such high esteem, they remind him of one thing in particular from back home.
He said: “Even during the week in training, there’s that little bit more intensity about things knowing you can’t afford to be on the wrong side of a derby result at the weekend.
“The derby is like a mini-Origin in a way, with the way the fans get pumped for it; they’re so passionate and it’s exciting for the game in this country. I don’t think the derbies back home are quite like that – there’s not as many derbies left in the NRL: and none like this, that’s for sure.”
Minichiello also admits that an injury-hit Hull side will be intent on righting the wrongs of last year’s trip to Magic Weekend – when they were thrashed 45-0 by St Helens.
“It’s a great venue and the fans turn out in numbers,” he said.
“Being a derby, back on the agenda for Magic, that’s a nice bonus and it’s exciting for everyone in Hull. I’m looking forward to running back out at St James’ Park, especially after last year, which wasn’t great.
“We’ve not given that too much thought because it was a bizarre game, the focus is just getting ready for Hull KR with the players we’ve got available. I’m pretty sure we’ll go about our business better than we did here 12 months ago.”