Hull FC coach Lee Radford heaped praise upon his young players as a team featuring nine homegrown talents pushed reigning Super League champions Leeds close on Thursday night.
Without several key players due to injury and suspension, a Hull side including debutant Jordan Lane and the returning Jack Logan saw their losing run at Emerald Headingley continue – but only after a late rally saw them fall narrowly short of victory, eventually losing 20-16.
And Radford opted to look at the positives post-match – particularly how well his younger players reacted to the contest.
“I am obviously devastated with the loss but I was pleased with their effort and endeavour. There were some real fine margins in the game and unfortunately we just fell short,” Radford said.
“We chased it late on and we looked better for it. We went down swinging and I’m pleased with that.
“The thing I was pleased with the most was there were some really strong individual performances. I thought Jordan Lane looked a Super League player on his debut, Jordan Abdull was fantastic and caused them problems.
“Chris Green really gave us a lift when he came on and Jack Logan was strong after two years out. The challenge now for them is to back that up.
“Nine kids who came through our system played out there and we had a fully English spine. You wouldn’t have thought that five years ago.”