Hull FC backrower Sika Manu said he has not been surprised by his side’s meteoric rise this season, which has them hotly tipped for silverware.
The Black and Whites sit top of the Super League table, while Saturday’s 22-8 victory over Catalans Dragons saw them progress to the Challenge Cup semi-final.
Wigan Warriors stand in the way of Hull in the last four of the competition, with the two sides also looking to take the race for the top spot down to the wire.
Despite seeing his side raise a few eyebrows with their form this season, amidst a ten-game winning run, Manu, who joined Hull from the NRL’s Penrith Panthers, claims that he fully expected the current crop of talent to excel in 2016.
“I’m not really surprised because when I first came here and saw the players we had you just knew that something good was going to happen,” Manu told League Express.
“The confidence the boys have is massive. Obviously I wasn’t here last year, but that buzz was there as soon as we arrived. There’s a lot of energy in there and that’s transferred onto the field.
“There’s still some stuff to work on but we’re still managing to get wins. We’ve been making a lot of errors and missing opportunities but if we can get those things right we’ve got a good chance of winning.”
Joining Hull at the start of this season alongside fellow New Zealand international Frank Pritchard, the 29-year-old has competed for places alongside his compatriot and experienced duo Gareth Ellis and Mark Minichiello.
In a pack that has been a key component in the club’s successes this season, Manu pointed to the competition for places as a vital factor in keeping players fit to push for the title.
“People like Gareth Ellis, Scott Taylor and Liam Watts give us a lot of power and the NRL boys just add to that. From that start of the season we were really confident we could make the top four,” he added.
“It’s good for the club that there’s so much competition and it keeps us fresh.
“I think it’s important in a long competition that we can have a rest and I got to do that. We’re very fortunate to have a lot of depth so if you do get a niggle we can afford to bring someone in who can do a good job.”
This article was originally published in League Express. To get the best interviews and exclusives first, get your copy every week in stores on Monday, or online Sunday evening by clicking here.