Marquee signing Frank Pritchard has quickly endeared himself to the Hull FC fans this season, and he enhanced that bond with a typically strong performance in defeat at Headingley on Friday night.
Pritchard made 180 metres in the torrential rain, the highest figure in the game, with his 15 carries being at an average of 12 metres, which included six tackle busts. And he also made 25 tackles.
“It was a tough game, especially playing Leeds on their home ground,” he said, after Hull’s 20-18 defeat.
“They’ve had a rough start but they were always going to be a champion side that could put us to the sword.”
The former New Zealand and current Samoan international limped off after Hull had gone 12-8 ahead at the start of the second half, but came back to spark a late rally.
“I had a couple of little niggles in my knee. It gave way and it’s something I’m playing with that I’ve got to keep on top of and look after,” Pritchard noted.
Just beforehand, his 30-metre diagonal run, which had been ended by Ash Handley, set the position for Kirk Yeaman’s try.
“It’s pretty hard for someone like me to go over from that far out but I gave it my best,” he joked.
“I’ve settled in pretty well, I’m enjoying myself and there’s a good vibe within the team. We are all trying to find our feet within the structure, but it’s been good.
“We’ve been competitive in nearly all our games this year. Widnes belted us and everyone had to reflect and be honest with themselves that weekend and look at their performance.
“But if we keep going about things in the way we have, then we can certainly win a lot more games.”
As well as his marauding running game, the former Penrith and Canterbury enforcer is also starting to revel in the greater freedom afforded by Super League.
“First and foremost I need to do what’s right for the team rather than get carried away and not stick to instructions, trying to offload all the time,” Pritchard added.
“But it’s going good. I love the fans, who have made me incredibly welcome. I’ve just got to stay longer on the field and try and make a bigger impact.”