The first round of the Super 8s got under way as Hull FC faced Salford Red Devils at the KCOM Stadium, both teams coming into the game with contrasting results from last week’s Challenge Cup matches.
Salford opened the scoring through newcomer Manu Vatuvei after a neat offload in the left corner from Jake Bibby, Todd Carney missing the kick to leave the scoreline at 4-0 to the Red Devils. The Black & Whites were quick to respond however and some neat footwork near the line by Albert Kelly allowed him to evade the Salford defence and touch down, Jake Connor adding the two to give FC a slender 6-4 lead. Hull seized on the momentum again as they went in with a fantastic score, Sika Manu making the initial break down the middle before moving the ball to the left edge with great invention for Carlos Tuimavave to score from a neat Connor pass, the latter kicking the two points to make it 12 -6. The Red Devils had a great chance to respond soon after as they worked the ball out wide to Vatuvei but he threw a wild inside-ball as he headed for touch. They ultimately got their reward though as Niall Evalds broke away down the middle, beating Fetuli Talanoa and Jamie Shaul to the corner with neat footwork, Carney unable to convert as Salford narrowed the deficit to 12-8. The Red Devils continued to rally and took advantage of a Mahe Fonua knock-on under the sticks, Robert Lui barging over in the right corner and Carney expertly converting from out wide as Salford edged back ahead at 14-12. Hull were given the chance to reply with a penalty after Albert Kelly was taken out off the ball after an initial Danny Houghton break, Connor accurate with the boot to level the scores at 14-14 going into the half-time break.
The second-half began at a frantic pace as George Griffin broke down the middle for Salford, offloading to Evalds who was unable to find Lui before Manu safely collected the loose ball for Hull. FC were more clinical with their opportunity that followed as a towering kick from Connor was athletically collected by Talanoa, Connor successful with the boot as the Airlie Birds lead once again at 20-14. Connor himself was the next scorer as he proved irrepressible near the line following a penalty, exploiting the space in the Red Devils’ line to steam over, followed by his own successful conversion as Hull hit the straps at 26-14. The home side almost scored again as Josh Griffin kicked a neat grubber into the path of Steve Michaels but he narrowly went into touch as the winger attempted to ground the ball in the corner. Another try would follow for the Airlie Birds as an initial break by Scott Taylor was followed up by Houghton, releasing Connor who fed Tuimavave with a neat pass for the centre to score his second on the night, Connor maintaining his 100% record with the boot as Hull took full control of the game. The away side refused to buckle and after working the ball out wide to the left edge, Vatuvei bagged a brace of tries as he crashed over in the corner. The conversion missed by Lui leaving Ian Watson’s men with a big hill to climb at 32-18. Nonetheless it was the home side’s night as they won convincingly with a victory that consolidates their top 4 aspirations, while Salford’s alarming drop in form continues.
Report by Callum Thompson