Hull FC are at the dawning of a new era, but their old guard want one last hurrah

Lee Radford and Hull FC are no strangers to the euphoria that comes with Challenge Cup success.

On Saturday, the Black and Whites will go in search of a third Wembley visit in four years, having won on their previous two appearances under the arch.

The motivation behind the previous triumphs was contrasting. Their 2016 success was sparked by a desire to end the club’s Wembley hoodoo. A year later, it was about solidifying their status as one of the competition’s elite clubs.

Defeat on Saturday won’t dent this squad’s place in Hull FC history. That has already been cemented with their previous heroics at Wembley. A third Wembley triumph is more about personal gratification.

There are players heading into the sunset at the conclusion of this season. Some are retiring while others are moving to other clubs.

This platform provides them with the opportunity for one last hurrah before going their separate ways.

“It’s a fair description of this squad to say it’s one that’s coming to the end of its cycle,” head coach Lee Radford admits.

“But this group still has a little bit left in the tank, I’m pretty sure of that. We’ve still got some fantastic players in this squad.

“I think there are 14 players leaving the squad next year. I know all of them want to finish on the ultimate high. Those blokes that are going to be retiring want to end on that pedestal. It’s important to us anyway, but to them, it’s everything.”

Radford believes his old stagers will have a prominent role to play if his side is going to get another moment in the spotlight. While they

“There’s no value on experience,” he said.

“If you’re asking me if I’d swap those guys to go into battle with, I wouldn’t. The job they’ve done for me, you’d have to go a long way to want to replace them, that’s for sure.

“The games are decided on the teams that take advantage when the momentum is in their favour. We’ve got enough quality in our squad to take those opportunities and enough desire to win to take them. Equally, there’s how you deal with it when the momentum is with them.

“I’m a straight shooter, I’ll say what I think, there won’t be anything romantic. They understand the enormity of the occasion.”