Since Joe Westerman’s departure from Hull FC to Warrington, there has been much debate on who the Airlie Birds should sign with the money made on the deal.
But why do they need to sign anyone?
Lee Radford’s recruitment has gone under the radar in the buildup to 2016, largely down to the fact he did a lot of his business whilst the season was still in full flow.
In contrast, high-profile departures in the shape of Tom Lineham and Joe Westerman, alongside moves away from the KC Stadium for Jordan Rankin and Setaimata Sa have been well documented.
Inevitably, the loss of four first team players is going to have a certain level of impact on FC at the start of the season, but they’ve done their upmost to maintain and strengthen the level of their roster for 2016.
From Super League, Scott Taylor, Salford’ Player of the Year last season and in my eyes one of the most underrated players in Super League has joined the club, whilst Danny Washbrook has also been drafted in. Meanwhile, Frank Pritchard is the big-name recruit of the close-season and will no doubt have a huge impact on the team with his stature and experience.
Other NRL imports have followed Pritchard; outside-back Mahe Fonua has made over 50 appearances for NRL powerhouses Melbourne and is still only 22 years old, Sika Manu comes to the Airlie Birds in the prime of his career after moving from Penrith and Carlos Tuimavave is an unknown product, but comes with great potential.
— Hull FC (@hullfcofficial) November 4, 2015
When you add those players into a side full of young English talent like Jamie Shaul and Liam Watts, plus classy players in the shape of Fetuli Talanoa, Gareth Ellis and Danny Houghton, does Lee Radford really need to add another troop to his ranks?
If Hull FC do lack anything then it is depth in the backs, and if they were to strengthen, you’d have to fancy Lee Radford would be keen on another wide player.
But at the same time, there is a lot of emphasis on blooding English talent and any new signings would inevitably restrict the opportunities for promising stars such as Curtis Naughton and Jordan Thompson, which goes against the club’s ethos.
In the halves, Leon Pryce needs a big year in 2016, and if he or Marc Sneyd become injured or are out-of-form, then they are left a bit short in that department, and I would think if they were to struggle in any area this year it would be there. But if Jordan Abdull is to be the club’s starting loose-forward, it gives Radford the opportunity to move him into the halves and push Danny Washbrook into number 13, whilst Tuimavave has also been known to play at halfback.Whichever way you look at it, there is options to rotate the squad.
Ultimately, the thing that has stopped the club from hitting new heights is injuries. Year on year they seem to have more than their fair share of casualties, and their fortunes must change in the medical department if they are to really fulfil their potential.
By refraining from signing anyone now, it will give Radford the opportunity to draft someone in later in the year when he will have a better idea of where he needs to strengthen or who needs replacing due to injury. Player availability is more restricted in the season, but we saw last year that quality players can become available and Hull FC will be in the best position to react.
A few new arrivals wouldn’t go amiss at the KC Stadium, but they would be a luxury rather than essential, and Lee Radford can be rightly confident about the squad he currently has at his disposal.