Hull FC captain Gareth Ellis was full of praise for Wakefield Trinity after his side battled back to a 12-8 victory in horrendous conditions at the Beaumont Legal Stadium.
Debutant Jake Connor’s try 11 minutes from time proved to be enough for the Airlie Birds as they claimed the points in a game they looked like losing for most of the second half.
“Coming here was always going to be difficult,” said Ellis.
“Wakefield are a good team and they played really well today so it’s pleasing we were able to show great fight and get a tough hard-fought win.
“Every team has been working hard in pre-season building up to this first match and they showed today what they are capable of, so we are delighted to come out of it with the points.”
On a wet and windy day, the match quickly turned into a battle up front with both teams reluctant to throw the ball out wide on a boggy pitch.
This meant Ellis and the rest of the FC forward line had to put in the hard yards against a Wakefield pack that was equally committed and determined to get the result.
“We knew in the conditions what sort of game it would turn into,” Ellis explained.
“All week we have been building towards that sort of game but it was really enjoyable to be involved in. For us as forwards we have to lead by example and stand up to be counted.
“It was the kind of game that is typical of this time of year where we weren’t at our best but you have to knuckle down, put in the hard work and also hope that little bit of luck goes your way.”
In what was an old-school game of rugby league, Wakefield nearly produced a moment of magic in the final minute as Scott Grix looked certain to get on the end of Tom Johnstone’s kick and win the game.
However, coming from the other side of the field, Hull winger Fetuli Talanoa raced across to beat Trinity’s full-back to the ball and knock it over the dead-ball line.
“It was a massive play from Fetuli,” said Ellis.
“The match could have easily gone the other way but he put in that extra effort and it just shows you the fine margins between winning and losing.
“It is what we have come to expect of each other though, from 1 to 17 I thought we were outstanding today so it is really pleasing to come out the right side of the result.”