The Garry Schofield Column: Tony Smith? It’s Hull FC’s players who must stand and be counted

HULL KR staged a great tribute to the Phil Lowe at the Good Friday derby, and the way the Hull fans paid their respects to the late Rovers hero shows just what a fine player and representative of that proud Rugby League city he was.

So many stars have emerged from there, and Phil was one of the foremost. It was an honour to be present at Craven Park to see how much it all meant to his family.

It was fitting that Phil will have been looking down on a Rovers victory, but I suspect that as big a red and white as he was, the health of the game of Rugby League as a whole was also important to him, and he wouldn’t have taken any pleasure in seeing how the Black and Whites are struggling at the moment.

Hull is a key location for Rugby League, and having two thriving clubs is important for the sport.

But one of the teams just didn’t turn up in the first half, and while Hull were a bit better in the second, they were very soundly beaten.

Given they are out of the Challenge Cup, and that it’s hard to see how they will find the wins to give them even a slight chance of making the play-offs, this season seems to be about damage limitation.

There is obviously going to be plenty of talk about the future of Tony Smith, but realistically, who is going to get anything meaningful out of this group of players?

Whether it’s a question of ability, confidence, desire or attitude, too many don’t appear up to the challenge they face.

It desperately needs a senior player, or players, to step forward, grab the bull by the horns, and simply tell the others ‘this isn’t good enough, and we have to change things fast’.

Rovers certainly do have the potential to make the play-offs, and could be on for successive trips to Wembley as they are still in the Challenge Cup, but their lack of a trusty goalkicker remains a real concern.

As with the first derby on the opening night of Super League, their winning margin could have been greater still, but many of those extra points available from the boot were again spurned.

That might not have mattered in either derby, but it could well do in tighter matches.