Hull FC star Mahe Fonua says new coach Brett Hodgson is continuing to make his mark with the club, now that the Black and Whites are halfway through their first pre-season under the Australian, who was appointed in November.
Round One of Super League will bring a Headingley meeting with Huddersfield Giants, with whom Hodgson won the Man of Steel award in 2009, on Sunday, March 28.
Hull are aiming to go one better than last year, when they made the play-off semi-finals under interim coach Andy Last, only to lose 29-2 to Wigan.
Powerful back Fonua, who is in his second spell at Hull, was at Wests Tigers when Hodgson was assistant coach there.
And the 28-year-old, who started out at Melbourne Storm, told League Express four weeks ago that Hodgson had started on the front foot, and he continues to be pleased with the squad’s progress under Hodgson.
“This has probably been one of the pre-seasons I have enjoyed the most,” Fonua said.
“Because it was a shorter break than usual from the end of last season, all of the boys have come back fitter and raring to go.
“It means we’ve been able to get into the actual rugby side of things quicker rather than having to spend more time getting our fitness levels up.”
Fonua, speaking to the club website, continued: “There is definitely a fresher feel around the place, which comes from having a new head coach.
“He’s come in and made his mark in terms of being clear in what he wants us to achieve, and trying to make us all more responsible for our own actions.
“There seems to be more togetherness within the group, and that’s something he was really keen to see.
“He wants a strong, positive culture. That means if someone messes up in training, it’s about picking them up and showing them where they went wrong.”
Fonua, who scored six tries in 29 outings last season, is also delighted to have his old Wests team-mate Josh Reynolds on board.
“Josh has settled in and found his feet really well. He’s already proving to be a great character in the group,” he said.
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