On Friday, Hull will send a rotated squad to St Helens to try and back up after the euphoria of last weekend’s incredible Challenge Cup victory: but how did they get on the last time after they won the cup?
The short answer: not great.
John Kear also rotated his team for a game six days on following a cup final, but they were met by a fearsome performance from Bradford – and in particular Lesley Vainikolo.
“The Volcano” ran in six tries on his own, the most in a single Super League match from one individual, with the first coming after just 20 seconds as the Bulls consolidated third place – a position they would win the Grand Final from that year – in the Super League table.
“There is very little to say about Lesley that hasn’t already been said,” Bradford coach Brian Noble said of Vainikolo.
“He’s big and hard to stop, but he’s also very skilful and smart.
“He’s a big asset to the club and just loves playing Rugby League. I watched his last try head-on, and he’s an awesome sight in full flight.”
It was very much a case of after the Lord Mayor’s Show for Hull that day – and Kear’s reaction afterwards summed it up.
“The scoreline reflects the performance,” he reflected. “Bradford were 50 points better than us.
“It’s what everyone feared, and it’s part of a learning process. Champion teams don’t win a Championship and then put out a performance like that. The coaching staff and the players are aware that we have let ourselves down.
Hull will certainly be hoping that the outcome will be markedly different this weekend, that’s for sure. But then again – they won’t have Lesley Vainikolo gunning for them on Friday night, so that’s something.
Bradford: Withers; Pryce, B Harris, Hape, Vainikolo; I Harris, Deacon; Peacock, Henderson, Fielden, Johnson, Meyers, Radford. Subs: Vagana, Paul, Lynch, Langley.
Tries: Vainikolo (1, 6, 38, 63, 95, 80), Hape (49), Fielden (52), Vagana (72), Peacock (76)
Goals: Deacon 4/10; Field-goal: Deacon
Hull: Blacklock; Tony, Whiting, Yeaman, Raynor; Cooke, Brough; Dowes, Swain, Thackray, McMenemy, Kearney, Chester. Subs: King, Saxton, Higgins, Horne
Tries: Raynor (27)
Goal: Brough 1/1
Referee: Ashley Klein