I’ve noticed a few people connected to the club still blaming their 2018 woes on injuries alone. They’ve got their heads in the sand.
They shouldn’t ignore the many other problems, namely:
1) They have signed no top players and have chosen to retain players they should have cut.
2) They play a style of football that could put an insomniac to sleep. When that is successful, as it was for Wigan under Michael Maguire, no one complains. When you are dull and don’t get results, everybody is miserable. Hull can’t keep playing off the back of penalties and kicks to the corner. With Jake Connor and Albert Kelly in the side, they must be able to come up with something else.
3) Fullback Jamie Shaul hasn’t progressed in the way Hull fans were hoping he would 18 months ago. He is way down the pecking order for an England jumper now. He is a decent fullback, but nothing more right now. I hope we see the Shaul of old again.
4) The wingers don’t get any service apart from Marc Sneyd kicks. When they do have the ball, it is apparent that Mahe Fonua hasn’t been adequately replaced.
5) I’ve sometimes felt like a lone voice criticising the halfbacks in the last couple of years. I know Sneyd won those Lance Todd Trophies, but there have been big problems with creativity. I would look to pair Connor with Kelly. If they do persevere with Sneyd, they must ensure they get the best out of Connor and Kelly, their best players.
6) They have no real pace in the team. All good teams have speed. There are not many Hull players you’d fancy to score a 60-metre try. They’re too easy to play against and the lack of pace is one reason for this.
7) Too many of the forwards are bang average. New contracts have been handed to players in the pack who haven’t really earned them. Liam Watts and Gareth Ellis simply haven’t been replaced. Nobody in the pack is anywhere their standard. Joe Westerman had loads of potential once, but it hasn’t been realised. He needs to stand up.
8) There is no spark from dummy-half. We all know Danny Houghton’s strengths, but he isn’t the most skilful hooker. If they don’t sign a new hooker, they need to at least ensure that Jez Litten is on the bench every week to give the sort of impact that most other teams have.
9) While they did have injuries last season, the way they collapsed at the end of the season indicated that they do not have the required depth. In the last couple of years, other clubs have had a similar number of injuries, but didn’t fall away like the Black and Whites did.
10) There was a nasty, toxic atmosphere at the club at the end of last season and it will return with a vengeance if they lose the Hull derby at the beginning of the new season. Everybody will be under pressure straightaway.
Read the rest of Garry Schofield’s column by clicking here