As they prepare for a huge top-of-the-table showdown with the league leaders Castleford tonight, Hull coach Lee Radford is hopeful his side have learned key lessons from last season as they look to show the world they are bonafide contenders for the Super League title tonight.
After making history under the Wembley arches last August, Hull’s league campaign quickly fell apart. They surrendered what appeared to be a commanding position in the race for the League Leader’s Shield to Warrington on the final night of the season, before crashing out of the play-offs to Wigan the following week.
And as they look to close the gap to the Tigers to five points tonight with a third straight win over Daryl Powell’s side, Radford believes his side will find out shortly whether they have learned major lessons from their disappointing end to last season.
“We know where we are,” he says.
“I’m just hoping the players have learned and as a staff we have too from last season. Making sure there’s consistency after big cup games or knockout games is key. That hurt us last time around.
“Our Super 8s campaign wasn’t great last time around. Almost putting a line through the 23 rounds is important and then starting again in the Super 8s is something we obviously speak about.
Radford continued: “The league table is pivotal. Every fixture from now to the end of the year is pivotal. Being consistent for the remaining four or five league games and then throughout the Super 8s is nigh-on impossible. I don’t think anyone will go through that undefeated. Making sure you’re at it for most of those is important.”
Radford is also confident that the return of so many key players in the coming weeks – including Albert Kelly and Mark Minichiello tonight – will give his side the edge as the crunch part of the season approaches.
He said: “It’s one of the first times this year all of a sudden that blokes will miss out who have continuously been in the side.
“And hopefully with Chris Green, Gareth Ellis and Gaz Ellis back over the next fortnight, hopefully that will be a fantastic luxury.”