#TBT: The last time Hull FC finished top of the league.. in 1983

History can be made on Friday night if Hull FC beat Warrington to secure a first League Leader’s Shield in the modern era: and FC fans have had to wait a fair old while between drinks to celebrate finishing top of the pile in a league campaign.

You have to go all the way back to the 1982/83 campaign to find the last time Hull were top dogs, when they secured the (then-titled) Slalom Lager League Championship. To that end, it’s not hard to see why Hull coach Lee Radford describes Friday’s game as a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for fans of a certain age.

And Hull’s title-winning campaign is the subject of this week’s Throwback Thursday, so let’s delve in..

The stars
Lee Crooks: He may have only been a teenager during this season, but Crooks’ impact on Hull in 1982/83 was enormous. A fine goal-kicker as well as the scorer of some crucial tries throughout the season, Crooks remained pivotal in Hull’s quest for glory from start to finish.

James Leuluai: A prolific try-scorer, Leuluai’s 1982/83 season may be more fondly remembered for the try he scored in the semi-final of the Challenge Cup against Castleford – an incredible solo effort – but with over 20 tries as a whole throughout the season, the New Zealand international was a crucial part of Hull’s success.

David Topliss: Topliss spent the majority of his English career at Wakefield Trinity, winning the Lance Todd Trophy during their 1979 defeat to Widnes. But when he moved to Hull he made a huge impact, and his experience helped guide a young, exciting side to Championship glory in 1983.

The finale to the season
From the moment their Challenge Cup campaign began in February, Hull’s league form was virtually perfect. They won nine of their last ten league games to storm the title, seeing off cross-city rivals Hull KR by four points to claim a sixth league title. One of those wins was against Rovers, as over 20,000 packed into the Boulevard to see Hull win 21-3, before further wins against Carlisle, Leeds and Barrow clinched glory for the Black and Whites.

The final table

1Hull231647 (C)
2Hull KR211843
4St Helens1911039
9Bradford Northern1421430
13Barrow1111823 (R)
14Workington Town622214 (R)
15Halifax511411 (R)
16Carlisle20284 (R)

What happened next
Hull had already won the Yorkshire Cup that year, and they went in search of the treble by heading to Wembley to face Featherstone in the Challenge Cup final. Unfortunately, they were undone by one of the biggest shocks in cup final history, losing 14-12 and seeing their horrific record at the national stadium continue. As we know though, that ended this year when they beat Warrington in such dramatic circumstances: so will more history be made this weekend?