New role for Houghton at Hull

Andy Last hasn’t ruled out a change of position for Hull FC captain Danny Houghton.

The hooker has played from the bench in the past two games, with Jordan Johnstone being utilised as the starting nine.

That has seen Houghton also play a stint at loose forward, and Last admitted it’s an option he may explore more moving forward.

“We did a little bit of that at the beginning of last season with Jez Litten,” Last said.

“We had a couple of injuries in the middles and we brought Jez off the bench, let Danny do the tough stuff in the opening exchanges and then coming off the bench to drive a little bit of an offensive spark. We then moved Danny to the 13 and he played that role really well. He’s very skilful and brave and he’s got a great engine.

“If we need to do it he would be competent in the role. We’ve done it in the past and would consider in the future.”

While Houghton’s defensive qualities are undoubted, Last believes it should not detract from his ability with the ball.

“He wins tackler of the year every season, but it’s the fact he’s an 80 minute hooker and probably the most consistent in the last three or four years. James Roby has had Aaron Smith coming off the bench, but

Danny is playing 80 minutes in that middle channel.

“He’s probably under-appreciated by some people but he’s not here. He’s been a consistent player for us for the last eleven years. Hopefully with some fresh legs in Jordan Johnstone it will help extend his playing career and he’ll be equally effective in the role that he’s got.

“But I don’t think we should write off Danny being a starter; he supported my reasons for starting JJ. I’ve got the utmost respect for Danny and his contribution to this club deserves to be applauded.”

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