Hull chief Hodgson preparing for crucial pre-season

Brett Hodgson is looking forward to a full pre-season as he plots a rise up the Super League ladder for Hull.

The first batch of Black and Whites are back next Monday (November 1), while the bulk of those players who were most involved this year, when Hodgson’s team finished eighth, have been granted an extra seven days before returning.

Australian halfback Josh Reynolds, who has had a knee operation, will remain Down Under until after Christmas before jetting back to start the countdown to his second campaign since joining from Wests Tigers.

And newly-signed Fiji international hooker Joe Lovodua, who has moved from South Sydney Rabbitohs, isn’t due in the UK until December.

He will be one of two fresh faces so far confirmed alongside Huddersfield winger Darnell McIntosh, who is on his way back to full fitness following an Achilles tendon injury.

Backs Bureta Faraimo and Mahe Fonua have left to link up with ex-Hull coach Lee Radford at Castleford.

Hodgson’s squad members have been following individual fitness programmes since going their separate ways after the final match of the season at Wakefield in mid-September.

A 44-12 defeat by Trinity was a ninth loss in ten outings, scuppering Hull’s hopes of making the play-offs.

The Australian wasn’t appointed by Hull until last November, so was playing catch-up after his arrival from Australia, where he was assistant coach at Wests Tigers.

Second rower Jordan Lane has revealed he dropped out of the reckoning for an England Knights debut against Jamaica earlier this month due to a knee problem.

The 24-year-old club product, who was Hull’s Young Player of the Year in 2019, played through the pain barrier in the final two matches of the season.

Samoa international forward Ligi Sao has signed a two-year contract extension after impressing in his two seasons since arriving from New Zealand Warriors.

The 29-year-old said: “Myself and my family are settled, and that is helping my performances.

“I feel like I put my best foot forward last season, and I have still got more to give.

“We weren’t where we wanted to be this year. Everyone has had to face some harsh truths, but I firmly believe the changes being made are putting the building blocks in place for us to make improvements next season.”

Hodgson also believes there is more to come from Sao.

“Ligi is one of the first names on the teamsheet every week, and his consistency on the field over the last season shows you exactly why – he’s a really important asset to our pack, and the group as a whole,” he said.

“He brings energy and enthusiasm to the group, which to us in terms of culture is just as important as his ability with the ball in his hands.

“I’m certain there’s still more to come from him over the next two seasons, having seen vast improvements in his game over the course of the last 18 months.”

He added, “Ligi is another important name tied down for 2022 amongst our forwards, alongside the likes of Chris Satae, Manu Ma’u, Andre Savelio, Joe Cator and new signing Joey Lovodua – and we’re hoping to add to that.”

The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.