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How Hull FC could line up in 2023 with former Leeds Rhinos pair and new-look spine

It has been a busy off-season to date at the MKM Stadium with a new head coach and a host of impressive signings for the 2023 season.

Tony Smith is the latest man tasked with making Hull FC serious contenders in Super League after the club failed to live up to expectations under previous coach Brett Hodgson.

If the Black and Whites’ recruitment is anything to go by, they have every chance of competing for silverware next season under one of the most talented and respected coaches in the game.

Talented is a word that could also be used to describe their roster too, though we are likely to see more names come in at FC before they take on Castleford Tigers in Round One of the 2023 campaign.

Smith said earlier this week that he will work with what he has got at the club already before looking to new signings, so with that in mind we have selected what we think their starting 17 could look like next season based off their current group.

Fullback: Tex Hoy

Replacing Jake Connor who has returned to Huddersfield, Tex Hoy will be looking to make his mark on Super League with his speed and footwork that has brought a level of excitement to the Hull faithful after joining from NRL outfit Newcastle Knights.

Wingers: Adam Swift and Darnell McIntosh

Swift has struggled with injury over the past year but when he has played, he has been a consistent try-scorer and metre-maker for the Black and Whites. Meanwhile McIntosh scored 12 tries in 21 appearances this season. He will be hoping for an improvement as he goes into his second season at the MKM Stadium.

Centres: Carlos Tuimavave and Liam Sutcliffe

Tuimavave will be entering his eighth season as an FC player. A skilful individual, the 30-year-old can also play in the halves should Tony Smith require. Sutcliffe is on the other end of the scale, joining from Leeds in the off-season. Both players will have to be on top form with the likes of Josh Griffin, Cam Scott, Connor Wynne and Mitch Vulikijapani waiting in the wings.

Halves: Jake Trueman and Jake Clifford

Both new additions to the team, Tony Smith has reformed his spine once more with these two exciting additions. Trueman, although he is out injured and will likely miss the start of the season, is one of the most exciting prospects in England. Pair him with a proven quality player in Jake Clifford and Hull FC have one of the best half-back pairs in the league. It will be interesting to see how these two work together, FC fans will be hoping for a major improvement compared to last year’s halves pairings.

Props: Chris Satae and Ligi Sao

Chris Satae was one of the most dominant props in the league last year, ranking third for tackle busts by a forward and making over 2,200 metres. He will be looking to continue his form alongside Ligi Sao who himself had a strong 2022. FC do have a strong pack with the likes of Kane Evans, Scott Taylor and Brad Fash all providing impact off the bench and in squad depth.

Hooker: Danny Houghton

Tackle machine Houghton is entering his 17th season at his boyhood club. He was once again the league’s top tackler in 2022, a feat he has achieved six times in his career. There is good competition for the number nine spot next year, with Brad Dwyer, Joe Lovodua and young Denive Balmforth all pushing for a place.

Second Rowers: Andre Savelio and Jordan Lane

Perhaps the position where FC lack the most depth, with the departure of Manu Ma’u to Catalans leaving only Andre Savelio and Jordan Lane as senior second-rowers. They do have Charlie Severs, a youngster, and Joe Cator who can also cover the position, but if Savelio and Lane can stay fit they will add to an already strong pack for the Airlie Birds.

Loose Forward: Joe Lovodua

Though primarily a hooker, Joe Lovodua could be a perfect 13 for Tony Smith, who we know likes to play expansive rugby. His passing game is as good as any and the Fijian is more than competent in defence. Should Smith want to go for a more route one approach, Joe Cator would be the starting loose due to his size and power.

Bench: Brad Dwyer, Joe Cator, Kane Evans and Brad Fash

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