Hull FC v Castleford Tigers: Preview

Hull FC 39-26 Wigan Warriors

After bouncing back against Leigh Centurions during a hectic Easter weekend period, round 11 of the Betfred Super League sees Hull FC take on Castleford Tigers at the KCOM Stadium.

With a traditional Sunday kick-off time, we can expect to see a few points scored between two teams who like to play expansive rugby.

The Airlie Birds will be pleased with their response after disastrous results against Salford and Leeds in previous weeks. Coach Lee Radford knew conceding 106 points in two games simply wasn’t acceptable.

While Easter Sunday’s 24-10 win over a lacklustre Leigh outfit wasn’t the complete performance, it was certainly a step in the right direction.

Castleford appeared to be victims of the Easter burnout after they were unable to maintain a good start against St Helens, a late rally almost allowed them to salvage something from the game but they fell short, losing 26-22.

What is apparent in 2017 is that the Tigers have pivots across the pitch, with no hesitancy in throwing the ball around. Players such as Zak Hardaker, Ben Roberts and Luke Gale are capable of moments of magic and FC will have to match this with equal flare and measured defence.

For Hull to win the game they must play smart rugby; more specifically that means being savvy with possession, astute game management and defence.

If any of these aspects of FC’s game falter, then defeat can be expected against a Tigers side that can dismantle any team at will.

The away side’s pivot players are vital to the style of game they play and it will certainly be an intriguing match-up between Albert Kelly, Marc Sneyd, Ben Roberts and Luke Gale.

A physical contest is inevitable and both sides possess big forward packs, the difference will lie in who controls the game.

If the Airlie Birds fall behind early on, Daryl Powell’s men are more than capable of emulating the big scores produced by both Salford and Leeds. That said, I sense it will be a close game with a few key players back in the FC side.

In a big boost for the Black and Whites, reigning Man of Steel Danny Houghton returns after a calf problem with centre Josh Griffin and prop Chris Green also back in the squad.

Castleford head coach Daryl Powell makes just one change to the Tigers team defeated at Saints on Easter Monday with Joel Monaghan replacing Matt Cook.

Hull FC: Shaul, Fonua, Tuimavave, Griffin, Kelly, Sneyd, Taylor, Houghton, Watts, Minichiello, Ellis, Connor, Green, Washbrook, Michaels, Manu, Turgut, Fash, Litten.

Castleford Tigers: Chase, Eden, Gale, Hardaker, Holmes, Lynch, Massey, McShane, McMeeken, Millington, Minikin, Milner, Monaghan, Moors, Roberts, Sene-Lefao, Shenton, Springer, Webster.

Prediction: Castleford by 10.

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