Hull FC coach Lee Radford has revealed how his entire squad are determined to create more history this weekend after the “rugby gods” gave them the chance to complete leg two of a potential treble on Friday night.
A bumper crowd will pack the KCOM Stadium to see FC aim to secure the League Leader’s Shield at the expense of Warrington in a huge winner-takes-all showdown: with a home semi-final also on the line in the play-offs.
The Wolves looked certain to deny Hull top spot last weekend when they led Wigan 28-14, before conceding 21 unanswered points in the final 30 minutes – with a man advantage – to slump to a 35-28 defeat which sent the race for the Shield into the final weekend.
And Radford says that with their destiny in their own hands once again, his group are motivated to ensure the chance doesn’t slip through their fingers once again.
He said: “Everybody is aware of how huge this game is for this group.
“We are all fully aware, believe me – and I only had to look at my phone last Friday after the Wigan win to see how pumped our group was for this game and how excited everybody was.
“The rugby gods had smiled on us to put the competition back in our hands.”
After a morale-boosting win at Wakefield last week, Radford also confirmed he has been given another significant boost with the return of two key men.
Mark Minichiello and Frank Pritchard both missed the narrow victory at Belle Vue due to injury, but Radford revealed they are both fit and raring to go for Friday night.
“Having their experience is big for us this time of year,” he said.
“Frank has played in a lot of big international games and in the NRL, while Mini is a big influence for us off the field. On the field his performances this year are getting him the credit he deserves and he’s been consistent for us.
“To have them both back Friday is really big for us.”
With Hull having a fully-fit squad to pick from, Radford also addressed a number of pundits who have claimed that Hull have been “lucky” with injuries this year.
“It makes me laugh when you hear people like Phil Clarke on television saying we’ve been lucky with injuries this year,” Radford said. “I can grasp the collision injuries, where there’s not a great deal you can do, but the soft tissue injuries, we’ve not been lucky.
“If the people who say we’ve been lucky would care to take an afternoon and come down to see the work that goes on with our strength and conditioning staff, they’ll see it’s not good luck it’s hard work by all the staff.
“Without a doubt, Paul Hatton has been one of our best signings of the season.”