Round 8 of Super League sees Hull FC take on Salford Red Devils at the KCOM Stadium. FC lie in third place looking to bounce back after surrendering a 22-4 lead to draw 22-22 against Warrington Wolves. Meanwhile fourth place Salford look to continue their recent upturn in form after an impressive 22-14 defeat of St Helens.
After a Round 1 defeat to Catalans Dragons, the Airlie Birds have really began to play into some form. While the complete performance still evades them, they have successfully grinded out a series of victories. Salford Red Devils resemble an altogether different animal in 2017. Ian Watson’s side have a strong sense of resilience and togetherness that has all too often evaded them during Marwan Koukash’s era. Victories over high-flyers Castleford along with an impressive display against Warrington have shown what they are capable of.
The Black and Whites go into this game with a growing injury list as key figure Danny Houghton misses a second successive game with a calf injury. Hull are also missing the in-form Albert Kelly, who has headed back home to Australia for personal reasons. On a positive note for Coach Lee Radford, he may be able to welcome back Fetuli Talanoa and Chris Green from ankle and back injuries respectively, but Carlos Tuimavave misses out for another week with an ankle issue. It is expected Jake Connor will step into the half-back slot to partner Marc Sneyd while Danny Washbrook will continue sharing the hooking responsibilities with young Jez Litten.
Salford Red Devils remain virtually at full strength for Friday’s visit to the KCOM Stadium. Young Kris Brining drops out of the 19-man squad with Logan Tomkins likely to start at hooker. Meanwhile Todd Carney is expected to start from the bench once again.
While Salford carry both a physical and attacking threat, FC have bulk within their forward pack too with the likes of Scott Taylor and Liam Watts amongst others and a dangerous back-line. Nonetheless, watch out for the likes of Lama Tasi and Lee Mossop for Salford. The Red Devils probably have a slightly more potent pivot combination with Michael Dobson, Robert Lui and Todd Carney but despite this I’m predicting the Black & Whites to win.
Hull FC squad: Jamie Shaul, Mahe Fonua, Josh Griffin, Fetuli Talanoa, Marc Sneyd, Scott Taylor, Liam Watts, Mark Minichiello, Gareth Ellis (c), Jake Connor, Chris Green, Jordan Thompson, Danny Washbrook, Steve Michaels, Sika Manu, Josh Bowden, Jansin Turgut, Brad Fash, Jez Litten.
Salford squad: Adam Walne, Ben Murdoch-Masila, Craig Kopczak, Gareth O’Brien, George Griffin, Greg Johnson, Josh Wood, Josh Jones, Junior Sa’u, Justin Carney, Kris Welham, Lama Tasi, Lee Mossop, Logan Tomkins, Mark Flanagan, Michael Dobson, Olsi Krasniqi, Robert Lui, Todd Carney.
Prediction: Hull FC by 8.