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Hull FC were looking for a confidence boosting win over the St George Illawarra Dragons before getting back on the plane to return to blighty to resume their Super League campaign. Although this was just pre-season friendly, with unlimited interchanges, there was still pride to play for.

Lee Radford was expecting a response from his players after last weekends loss to the Wigan Warriors, but was forced into a number of changes. Injury meant he’d be without the services of Mark Minichiello, skipper Danny Houghton and vice-captain Scott Taylor.

The Dragons named a substitute bench of twelve players (FC named ten) as they looked to give  a pre-season trial to as many players as possible in a competitive game.

The ANZ Stadium in Sydney was the venue for the historic double header, which would later see Wigan Warriors face the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

It was a great start for Hull. A superb solo run by Josh Griffin should have seen Hull take the lead on five minutes but a wayward pass found touch rather than the hands of Fetuli Talanoa. Two minutes later Sika Manu lost the ball over the line when he looked certain to score.

On nine minutes Albert Kelly grabbed the opener after he put in a delightful pass to Jake Connor who sprinted down the right wing and put in a cross field grubber which eluded the Dragons defence to be picked up by the FC scrum half to touch down. Marc Sneyd kicked the extras and Hull were worth their early lead.

On fourteen St George Illawarra struck back when they kept the ball alive with Paul Vaughan finding Tim Lafai to exploit the overlap and ground. Gareth Widdop added the extra two from wide to tie up the scores.

The Dragons hit the front on twenty-seven when Jason Nightingale was on hand to take the final pass of an elaborate across the field move to duck inside the Hull winger and stretch out to score. Widdop had another touchline conversion opportunity but pulled it wide of the uprights.

Kelly grabbed his second for FC on thirty-three when he weaved his way through the Dragons defence from ten metres out to spin over the line under the tackle to score. Sneyd added the two and the tourist side were back in the lead.

A Ben Hunt kick found Jeremy Latimore on thirty-seven but the video referee determined that Nightingale had knocked on before the big forward collected the ball. The try was ruled out and the Airlie Birds took a two point lead into the interval.

First blood in the second half went to the Dragons when Nene Macdonald completed another expansive passing move to take a Lafai pass and fly over in the corner. Widdop hit the upright with his conversion attempt but his side had a two point lead.

On fifty-one the Dragons found loads of space down the left for Macdonald to use his strength to ground his second within six minutes. Widdop again failed to add the extras but the signs seemed ominous for FC.

But Hull doubled down and struck back quickly when Liam Watts stepped off the left and then right foot to weave his way through the defence to ground. Marc Sneyd added the extras and the sides were tied up at 18-18 with twenty-four minutes remaining.

Hull bombed a great opportunity when Kelly lost the ball close to the Dragons line on sixty-seven.

Five from the end and the Dragons were back in front when Kurt Mann found a gap in the tiring Hull defence to dive over for the match winner. Jai Field took over the kicking duties and slotted the extras between the uprights for 24-18.

Despite the game being a trial match for St George Illawarra, Hull will be delighted with the way that they approached and executed this game. They had their chances to win and take the honour of a victoy over an NRL side back to England, but in the end the Dragons were just a little too strong and organised.

It was an entertaining game for the big contingent who’d made the long journey from the UK and they can take pride in their sides performance.

Dragons: Duffy, Garrick, Mann, Lafai (T), Nightingale (T), Widdop (G), Hunt, Graham, McInnes, Vaughan, Leilua, Sims, Ah Mau.  Subs: Latimore, Field, Aitken, Sele, Robson Nicholls, Lomax, Lawrie, Kerr, Host, Allgood, Macdonald (2T).

FC: Shaul, Faraimo, Connor, Griffin, Talanoa, Kelly (2T), Sneyd (3G), Watts (T), Hadley, Paea, Manu, Washbrook, Bowden.  Subs: Abdull, Downs, Fash, Green, Lane, Litten, Logan, Matongo, Tuimavave, Turgut.

Referee:Grant Atkins and Peter Gough.

Half-Time: 10-12.

Full-Time: 24-18.

Attendance: .



Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 17th Feb 2018 8:35 AM | Views : 3368 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES
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