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“A lot needs changing” – Rival player outlines his fears for Hull FC

Hull FC Ryan Brierley

It has been a season of contrasting fortunes for Hull FC and Hull KR and the past four days have underlined that with the Robins heading to a Challenge Cup semi-final whilst the Black and Whites are in turmoil after sacking Tony Smith.

The Australian was sacked on Thursday after a poor start to the Super League season that saw Hull FC win just one of their seven league games whilst being dumped out of the Challenge Cup in a ten-try rout by Huddersfield Giants.

What was more embarrassing, and ultimately the last act of Smith’s 18-month tenure, was that the Giants returned to the scene of the crime and scored another ten tries against Hull FC last weekend which sealed Smith’s fate.

Since that defeat, Smith has been removed, stars Nu Brown and Tex Hoy released and chairman Adam Pearson has provided an update to fans on the search for a new Head Coach and a Director of Rugby.

Reports that the new Director of Rugby will be former Leeds Rhinos and current York Knights full-back Richie Myler have been met with disbelief and question marks over the Irish international’s qualifications, but former player Robbie Hunter-Paul has reacted to the FC fiasco claiming that it’s just business.

On punditry duties for the BBC, he said: “It’s the rugby league merry-go-round, isn’t it? That’s what happens in professional sports, especially in this city where the expectations are so high with both of these teams.

“When one is not going right then the other half of the city is going to point at it laughing and then the pressure comes, and with that pressure comes that expectation and this is the business of sport.

“It’s tough, it’s brutal, but this is the business of sport.”

Hull FC problem set to take “three or four years of real hard work”

Hull FC

Credit: Imago Images

There’s no doubt that the job of turning Hull FC around is a mammoth task but it’s one that causes so much more suffering to the faithful fans when the team on the other side of the city is thriving, something that Salford Red Devils full-back Ryan Brierley noted.

Also on BBC punditry duties, the Scotland international explained how he felt “sorry” for Hull FC fans, and even Tony Smith who FC are busy trying to replace in the coming weeks.

Brierley said: “It always hurts more when the other side of the city is doing so well like here at Hull KR, but I feel for Tony.

“I think it was a tough job to start with, there’s a lot of stuff that probably needs changing there and I think ultimately you’ve got to feel sorry for the fans, there’s that much support for Hull FC and the city is mad for rugby.

“When any player goes there, it’s such an event and the stadium is so good and they have that many fans. So they’re the people I feel sorry for, I think they deserve better.”

After suggestions earlier in the season from pundits such as Sam Tomkins that the players had shown a “lack of desire”, Brierley explained that plenty of those players will be feeling it just as much as the fans, however, it could be a long time before they taste any semblance of success.

He explained: “Ultimately I’m sure the players will probably feel that as well, there’s a lot of local and proud Hull lads in that team who probably want to do better for their team.

“I think it’s going to take a lot of change and it will need a lot more than a quick fix. It’s going to need three or four more years of real hard work and solidarity to fix the problems out there.”

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