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Hull FC outcast gets Man of the Match on Bradford Bulls debut

Hull FC

Hull FC headed into the 2024 season with plenty of optimism as head coach Tony Smith outlined the club’s intent to build a pack to be proud of and be able to play off the back of.

Since then, Smith has been sacked and three of their forward signings have departed in varying ways, be it either loan moves or a release. However, one of those who has made the loan move away from the MKM Stadium has made quite the impression on debut at his new club.

That man is Jayden Okunbor with the 6 foot 5 inches versatile talent having earned Man of the Match honours on his Bradford Bulls debut after his switch to the Championship outfit was confirmed earlier this week.

Okunbor was recruited as part of Tony Smith’s emphasis on building a major pack akin to the one that helped guide the club to Challenge Cup success in 2016 and 2017. Okunbor signed alongside Franklin Pele, Herman Ese’ese and Kiwi hooker Nu Brown.

Those signings didn’t all play out perfectly with hooker Brown thrust into the halves and both Pele and Okunbor having departed to the Championship on loan to earn game time.

Both men debuted with their new clubs today but it’s Okunbor who has done so to great plaudits.

Exiled Hull FC signing bags try on debut

Jayden Okunbor came to Super League with a big reputation, in part based on quotes from his former club’s Director of Rugby. The respected rugby league man Gus Gould infamously posted on social media: “Trust me when I say, Jayden Okunor will be a sensation in the UK. He’s just getting started.”

Okunbor struggled with the positional adjustment from being an outside back to being asked to play as a second-rower and ever since Tony Smith’s sacking, the 27-year-old had been featuring for the Hull FC reserve team.

That was until this weekend when he debuted for Bradford Bulls after following fellow Hull FC recruit Liam Tindall to Odsal on a short-term loan deal.

Restored to his more natural position in the centres, Okunbor was playing inside of Hull FC teammate Tindall as he put in his Man of the Match performance that also saw him bag a try.

Bradford put on a show at Odsal as they defeated high-flying Sheffield Eagles by a score of 28-10 in front of a crowd of 2,234. The win means the Bulls go fifth with the victory being their fifth of the season. It also represents a bounce back from their heavy 1895 Cup defeat last week against Wakefield Trinity.

News of Okunbor’s Man of the Match display garnered plenty of attention on social media from fans too, mainly from Hull FC fans offering for Bradford to keep the 27-year-old.

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