We all love a big name signing, one who’s going to put bums on seats, but we also take great pride out of the ‘local lad done good’ especially in the same colours that we sport on match day.
However, there are also those who our club have nurtured, invested in, made into the player they become, but who are now plying their trade elsewhere. So, what would your team look like today, if they had kept hold of the players that they had developed in their academy or reserves teams, before their first team breakthrough?
Here is a look at how my team could look now, it contains at least one player who could appear in different teams. What they do all have in common is that, they were part of the Hull FC academy and/or reserves at the start of their career. They have also played in the Hull FC first team, and are all now playing elsewhere. Some have been signed from other clubs, with the intention of playing at academy/reserves level, before making their first team debut further down the line.
1: Craig Hall
He was a wonder kid for the Airlie Birds, and some still say that Hull should never have let him leave, even despite his love of Hull Kingston Rovers, for whom he had two spells with. A utility player who could play fullback, winger or centre, now plying his trade at promotion challengers Featherstone Rovers.
2: Tom Lineham
The Flying Pig, brought in from York, was making a big noise as he progressed through the ranks at the KCOM Stadium, before making his breakthrough into the first team. He would have played at Wembley in 2013 if it wasn’t for injury two weeks before in a Hull Derby. He was placed in the 2013 Dream Team, before being allowed to leave for Warrington Wolves at the end of the 2015 season in a big money move.
3: Ben Crooks
The centre partner of Lineham, he helped terrorize defences to also make it into the 2013 Dream Team. He made a surprise comeback from injury at Wembley that year too. The son of Hull FC Hall of Fame member Lee, he fell out of favour after Lee Radford took over as coach for the 2014 season, spending much time on dual registration at Doncaster, before moving down under to Parramatta, subsequently returning to play for Castleford. Now part of a divided family, with his dad working for the black-and-white side of Hull, while he continues to notch tries aplenty for the red-and-white side.
4: Reece Lyne
Another who came through the ranks for Hull, before falling out of favour and finding a new home at Wakefield Trinity. He has flirted with the international scene, having been in the England squad previously, gaining his only cap against France in a game at Leigh. He played for the Airlie Birds from 2010, before moving to his current club in 2012.
5: Tom Briscoe
The former England winger was brought in from Featherstone Rovers, again with the intention of being developed in the Hull FC academy, in which he excelled. He made his breakthrough in 2008, writing his name into Hull Derby folklore for the first time with a two try performance, including an 80-metre dash, against Hull’s bitterest rivals, a week before a Challenge Cup semi-final against Wakefield Trinity. He left in acrimonious circumstances for Leeds at the end of the 2013 season, before softening the blow with a record Wembley performance for the Rhinos against Hull KR in 2015. Has seen great success with the Rhinos, although has never added to the international caps earned while at Hull.
6: Jordan Abdull
The goal-kicking half back was one of a breed of exciting youngsters to come through the Hull academy, before being given his first team chance in a thrilling draw for the black-and-whites at Wakefield Trinity in 2014, as Lee Radford called on the youth during his first season in charge. He was sent on loan for the season to Hull KR during their 2017 Championship season, contributing a lot to their return to Super League at the first time of asking. Spent time at London Broncos, before signing permanently for the Robins.
7: Anthony Thackeray
He came through the academy at the black-and-whites before making just two appearances for the first team in 2007. The diminutive halfback has since become something of a journeyman, signing for Castleford later that year, before leaving for Widnes at the end of 2008 season. He had a loan spell at York in 2011, before joining Halifax for the 2012 season, then moving to Dewsbury in 2014 and Featherstone in 2016. His main career highlight however came at his current club Sheffield Eagles as they became the first team to win the new 1895 cup at Wembley.
8: Chris Green
A prop forward with a reputation for making not many mistakes, he was one of the Hull FC immortals that provided that first ever win at Wembley against Warrington Wolves in 2016 – before backing it up a year later against Wigan Warriors. Now playing under previous Hull assistant coach Andy Last at Wakefield Trinity, his name is still very popular with the Old Faithful, despite his move to West Yorkshire, which certainly had some of us scratching our heads a bit, due to his contribution to the cause under Lee Radford.
9: Josh Hodgson
The Canberra Raiders and England/Great Britain hooker is probably seen as one of Hull’s biggest mistakes. He came through the ranks, before making just two appearances in the first team and subsequently being allowed to leave for the other side of the divided city. That decision certainly came back to haunt Hull FC, before he was plucked from Super League by the Raiders, where he enjoyed a stellar first season, which saw him in the mix for the coveted Dally M medal. His performances down under continue to attract great praise, although the same may not be said for his international performances with the same regularity.
10: Lewis Bienek
Brought to the KCOM Stadium from London Broncos, again with the intention of playing in Hull’s reserves, which he did with some impressive displays, before making his first team bow probably earlier than expected due to an injury crisis at the time. He was originally loaned back to the team in the capital for the rest of the season as soon as his capture was announced, before joining some more familiar names in the Hull reserves. Now at Castleford, he could be playing again under Lee Radford next season.
11: Dean Hadley
One that got away is the only way you can describe Deano as he is still affectionately known at the KCOM Stadium. The back-rower who can also play at loose forward or in the halves is an industrious, no-nonsense sort of forward and it certainly beggared belief in some quarters that he was allowed to leave the black-and-whites to join the scrap against relegation at the other side of Hull. Hadley moved on loan for a few games with it being made permanent the following season.
12: Danny Washbrook
Hull-born Washy is still a massively popular cult figure among the Old Faithful. He came through the ranks, before making his breakthrough. In 2006 he was in Hull’s, so far, only Grand Final appearance, before also being on the losing side against St. Helens at Wembley in 2008. While at Wakefield Trinity, he was one of the very few men to take the Super League Hitman award off Danny Houghton, before returning to his hometown club for the 2016 season. Another immortal, he was on the bench at Wembley in 2016 and 2017, before heading to pastures new at York City Knights.
13: Joe Westerman
This one is definitely controversial, as most Castleford Tigers fans will point out, he was developed in their academy, and he indeed made his breakthrough there. What is less known is that he was first at the Hull FC academy, before he joined the Castleford academy. He was then signed from Castleford, by the Airlie Birds, appearing in the 2013 Challenge Cup Final for the black-and-whites and earning his first international cap in the Four Nations after being a standout player in a tough season. He was allowed to leave for Warrington at the end of 2015 for big money, before moving, without actually leaving these shores, to Toronto having played for Warrington in the 2016 Challenge Cup Final, ironic eh? Now to be found at Wakefield Trinity, still causing problems for defences.
14: Jack Logan
He came through the academy, before being given his debut in a mauling by Wigan in 2014. However, he kept working hard and, after overcoming some serious career threatening injuries, by the 2016 season he had been given the number 4 shirt, no doubt helped by a tremendous showing in a 2015 play off game at the DW Stadium, when he and several other young guns frightened the living daylights out of the Warriors. Although another injury curtailed that season for him, leading to Kirk Yeaman reclaiming the starting centre spot that had been entrusted to Logan. He is still the last man to have scored a hat-trick in a Hull Derby.
15: Jez Litten
Another one who, at the same time as Deano, was allowed to leave, to join the desperate fight against relegation for the Robins. The all action hooker has impressed Tony Smith so much that he has been handed a new four-year contract. Formerly a Great Britain youth tourist to Australia, FC fans were again left wondering why he was allowed to leave as he certainly has a big future ahead of him.
16: Nick Rawsthorne
Signed from Halifax, where he played for their reserves in a few games against Hull’s reserves. An excellent goalkicker, he was also developed in the FC reserves, before injuries gave him a chance in the first team in 2017. The centre/winger was then allowed to join Toronto Wolfpack, and is now, like many others, to be found plying his trade at Hull College Craven Park, with probably his main headline act being the try he scored in the last few seconds of a Challenge Cup win against Leigh Centurions in dramatic style in 2020.
17: Jack Sanderson
He also came through the Hull academy and reserve team. Only ever appeared in the first team in pre-season games, probably the most prominent being the Danny Houghton testimonial game against the side he supported as a boy from the other side of the divided city. He played a lot on dual registration at Doncaster, before being allowed to leave and sign for Castleford, making his Super League debut for the Tigers. Subsequently allowed to leave, he can now be found playing for Bradford Bulls.