Super League 2024: Hull FC preview, players to watch and predicted finish

Rugby League World says

Over the years Tony Smith has proved himself as one of the best coaches in the game, having led both Leeds Rhinos and Warrington Wolves to great success in the past. 

Having also coached England and Great Britain, it was quite a coup for the club when they brought him in after his departure from neighbours Hull KR.

But 2023 was very much a bedding in period for the veteran coach, who is now looking to take the Black and Whites to a new level.

To do that he has brought in a whole host of new signings to freshen things up and perhaps bring a new attitude to the club. 

With an initial squad of 39 players named, Smith undoubtedly has the biggest pool of players at his disposal. Some might say it would be a hindrance having that many individuals to keep happy, but Smith has shown before he is not afraid to mix things up if it’s not working.

So by keeping even the most experienced players on their toes he could well get the very best out of them.

Three to watch

Fa’amanu Brown arrives in Hull fresh from helping bring down Australia in the Pacific Championships with New Zealand. Although never an NRL regular, Brown – who had a stint with Featherstone in 2021 and helped Samoa reach the World Cup final the following year – will be key for his new club, whether that is at hooker or halfback.

Tex Hoy showed glimpses of quality in his first season with Hull, but for most of it struggled for fitness or form. With extra competition, especially from Jack Walker, the Aussie will have to up his game for a place in the team. A huge running threat from fullback, he was also tried in the halves late last year.

Franklin Pele’s signing is a big one – literally, with the prop weighing in at 120kg. He summed up his style best in his first interview for the club: “I get the ball and just think ‘it’s time to go’.” Only 23 and formerly of Cronulla and Canterbury, Pele could become a huge fan favourite in Hull.

Did you know?

Hull FC and their city rivals Hull KR were the first clubs to play in Cornwall, which now, of course, has its own League One club. The pair played exhibition matches in Penzance, Camborne and Falmouth on consecutive evenings in June 1962. The Black and Whites were the winners each time.


1 Tex Hoy, 2 Liam Tindall, 3 Carlos Tuimavave, 4 Liam Sutcliffe, 5 Darnell McIntosh, 6 Jake Trueman, 7 Fa’amanu Brown, 8 Herman Ese’ese, 9 Danny Houghton, 10 Franklin Pele, 11 Jayden Okunbor, 12 Ligi Sao, 13 Brad Fash, 14 Joe Cator, 15 Jordan Lane, 16 Jack Ashworth, 17 Cam Scott, 19 Morgan Smith, 20 Jack Brown, 21 Will Gardiner, 22 Mitieli Vulikijapani, 23 Davy Litten, 24 Nick Staveley, 25 Harvey Barron, 26 Lewis Martin, 27 Zach Jebson, 28 Denive Balmforth, 29 Charlie Severs, 30 Matty Laidlaw, 31 Jack Walker, 32 Kye Armstrong, 33 Mackenzie Harman, 34 Damel Diakhate, 35 Jeylan Hodgson, 36 Sully Medforth, 37 Logan Moy, 38 Lennon Bursell, 39 Cobie Wainhouse, 40 Jack Charles.

Potential milestones

Fa’amanu Brown needs 5 appearances for 100 in his career…
Danny Houghton needs 14 appearances for 450 for the club…
Ligi Sao needs 19 appearances for 100 for the club… 
Carlos Tuimavave needs 16 appearances for 200 in his career

RLW predicts: 9th

First published in Rugby League World magazine, Issue 492 (January 2024)

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