Hull FC: Luke Gale’s return from suspension gives Brett Hodgson a welcome dilemma Yorkshire News

Gale was suspended for five matches after being sent off for kicking Jonny Lomax in a home loss to St Helens on February 19.

With Josh Reynolds on the disabled list, Hull have been losing both of their first-choice halfbacks, but youngster Ben McNamara and specialist hooker/backback Ben Lovodua have done an impressive job to fill in and the Black and Whites have missed just one. time during Gale’s period on the sidelines.

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They will carry a three-game winning streak, against Leeds Rhinos, Huddersfield Giants and Sheffield Eagles, in a Challenge Cup tie last weekend, into Thursday’s match.

Hull FC’s Luke Gale receives a red card and is sent off against St Helens in February. Image: Allan McKenzie/

Hodgson knows he has a “big decision to make” when he names his side, but he’s happy to take on that responsibility head-on.

“I will handle it by being honest with the players in the conversations we have this week,” he said.

“I’ll tell you why we’re going a certain way and why someone potentially misses a starting point.

“It’s tough, but ultimately that’s the position we want to be in, with people getting lost through other people contributing to the team’s performance.

“We haven’t been in that position too many times and luckily we’ve had a couple of tough conversations this week.”

According to Hodgson, Gale, who joined Hull from Leeds in pre-season, is “excited” about his imminent return, but the manager has urged him not to get too far ahead of himself.

Hodgson emphasized: “The important thing for Luke is not to play the game too many times in his head before he gets to it.

“It’s been a long time for him and he wants to contribute to our performances, so he just needs to make sure he’s ready to play Thursday night, not now.”

Another of Hodgson’s ‘big decisions’ will revolve around bringing winger Darnell McIntosh back from injury break.

He confirmed that McIntosh will be in the initial 21-man squad, which is named today, but stressed that he is impressed with the recent form of full-backs Connor Wynne and Mitieli Vulikijapani.

“These players are coming to our team and they are working,” the coach said.

“That’s what we’re asking of them and it’s nice that we’re in that position.”

Hull sit fifth in the Super League but will swap places with third-place Wigan if they win in two days’ time. Hodgson feels that his team has shown positive signs so far this year, but he is also aware that nothing is to be gained at this stage of the season.

He said: “We have shown that we are willing to work hard and graft it when everything is not perfect. Against Huddersfield, our attacking options weren’t great, but our defense held up. We were excellent mentally over the weekend and collecting points at the end of the game showed that we wanted to keep playing.

“I am very pleased, but finally we are only six weeks into the Super League competition and have progressed only one round in the Challenge Cup.

“We started well last year too, so it’s nice to have gotten off to a strong start, but we have to continue that now.

“It is no use thinking that we are doing very well, because the reality is that it only takes a week to not be at your best and you get stung again.

“It’s a big challenge for us this week, after a short change against Wigan, who are playing pretty well at the moment.

Wigan return Jai Field is without a doubt the player of the season so far and Hodgson accepts that his men will need to be determined in defense for the full 80 minutes.

“They are throwing the ball around a lot more,” Hodgson said of Wigan’s new style of play under manager Matt Peet.

“Jai Field is a huge threat, so we need to make sure we know where he is. They have good speed in their team, especially their wings.

“It looks like Thomas Leuluai is being suspended and Kai Pearce-Paul could be out, so we don’t know what they’re going to throw at us in terms of his form, but we need to make sure we’re improving again.”

After Thursday, Hull’s next game is the Cup quarter-final at home to Huddersfield Giants, but Hodgson insisted they will look no further than Wigan.

“I haven’t really given much thought to who we play next,” he said of Hull’s chances of reaching the Cup final.

“Obviously we have a league game this week to prepare for, so we’ll worry about that.” [the Cup tie] next week.”

The Cup game will be played just three weeks after Hull recorded a 14-6 home win over the Giants in the Super League, a game notorious for Huddersfield scrum-half Will Pryce being sent off for a dangerous tackle and the subsequent 10-game suspension.

“There were some elements in that game that we were happy with and some that we could have improved on as well,” Hodgson said. They will say the same thing.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-28 16:00:01

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