Ahead of tonight’s big Hull derby, I have attempted to name a combined Super League XIII between the two teams.
There were many close calls in a number of positions given the talent these two clubs have showcased over recent seasons, but after much thought I have landed on the following team…
Full-back: Shaun Briscoe
This Wiganer was a hero on both sides of the city. Firstly, he was a part of the Hull FC side who reached both the Challenge Cup Final and Grand Final before he crossed the river to join the Rovers. He racked up 100 appearances for both Hull teams and featured in their best Super League seasons, guiding FC to second in 2006 and KR to fourth three years later.
Winger: Peter Fox
Fox joined Hull KR in 2008 as part of the Rovers revolution that catapulted them up the table and the speedster was a vital part of that. He topped the clubs’ try scoring charts in 2008, 2009 and 2010. In just 110 appearances for KR, he racked up 61 tries and his time at Craven Park coincided with his England debut as well as a Dream Team appearance in 2009.
Centre: Kris Welham
Super League veteran Welham was there at the beginning of Hull KR’s Super League journey, helping them gain promotion in 2006. The loyal centre was still at Craven Park when Rovers got to Wembley in 2015, proving to be a consistent performer for over e decade with 102 tries in 191 appearances for the club.
Centre: Kirk Yeaman
Yeaman was a true one-club man and got to live the dream of many a supporter as he became the first home-town boy to lift two Challenge Cups with Hull FC in 2016. His fantastic form saw him gain international recognition for both Great Britain and England as well as a Dream Team appearance in 2011. His 176 tries is the third highest in the club’s history and makes him the only Hull player to reach 700 points without kicking a goal.
Winger: Tom Briscoe
Often Yeaman’s partner in crime, Briscoe is one of Hull’s finest academy products and has gone on to win two Grand Finals in his time at Leeds. He was more prolific for the Airlie Birds however, scoring 90 tries in less than 150 appearances. Like Yeaman, his performances at the then KCOM Stadium earned him a place in the 2011 Dream Team and the England side who contested that season’s Four Nations Final.
Stand-off: Richard Horne
Undoubtedly a Hull legend, Horne did just about everything in the game. He led Hull to a Grand Final in 2006, won the Challenge Cup in 2005 and even scored in a record-equalling 11 consecutive games for the club. He had a well-deserved run in the Great Britain side during the noughties and by the time he retired, he had played 387 times for the Black and Whites.
Scrum-half: Michael Dobson
The 2009 Super League Dream Teamer was the player who elevated the Robins the most in their early Super League days. Dobson was exceptional at the beginning of the 09 campaign as Hull KR stunned everyone to top the Super League table in the early rounds. The playmaker proved to be a consistent performer throughout his time at Craven Park and was considered Rovers ‘main man’ for a sustained period.
Prop: Scott Taylor
The 2013 Super League Grand Final winner was once idolised by the Hull KR faithful, but is now revered on the west side of the city. Taylor made his name at Craven Park as a young and upcoming prop, making 52 appearances for them before moving to Wigan. After tasting Super League glory he returned to Hull, this time to the Black and Whites. At the KCOM Stadium, Taylor has established himself as one of Super League’s best big men, making over 100 appearances for the Airlie Birds, winning back-to-back Challenge Cup trophies in 2016 and 2017.
Hooker: Danny Houghton
No Hull FC fan will ever forget ‘tackle 52’ in the 2016 Challenge Cup Final as it saw Hull end their Wembley wait. But that only tells half the tale of this two-time Challenge Cup winner. Hull’s number nine has been one of the most consistent performers in Super League over the last decade and somehow always manages to end the campaign as the competition’s top tackler. It’s a shame he’s never made it to the international stage because Houghton oozes class, something he has showcased in many Hull derbies.
Prop: Lee Radford
An international forward and Hull’s finest Super League coach, Radford was a must in this team. He was a no-nonsense middle unit who would make the opposition tremble in their boots. After making his debut for Hull, he would win trophy after trophy for Bradford before returning to the Black and Whites in 2006. There he would help them to a first Grand Final appearance before retiring with 170 appearances to his name for the Airlie Birds.
Second-row: Clint Newton
Having won the 2007 NRL Grand Final with Melbourne, Newton was a major coup for the Robins in 2008. A year after his arrival and Rovers were finishing in the top four due in part to the class of Newton. He scored 40 tries and made 100 appearances overall for the club, with 2009 undoubtedly the standout year as the Australian back-rower was named in the Super League Dream Team.
Second-row: Ben Galea
Galea perfectly balanced Newton’s style and provided Hull KR with a deadly back-row partnership. He made 126 appearances for Rovers, scoring 36 tries, and was included in the 2009 Super League Dream Team. Galea earned the captaincy at Craven Park in 2011 but shockingly finished his career at Hull FC after abandoning retirement plans to do one more season on the other side of city in 2013.
Loose-forward: Gareth Ellis
The first Hull skipper to lift the Challenge Cup at Wembley, Ellis was a major part of changing the ethos at FC from nearly-men to winners by 2016. That season they finished third as well as winning at Wembley, before backing it up the following year. Ellis retired in 2017, however last season he made a sensational return and is still producing top level performances at the age of 39. He is one of England’s best back-rowers of the last 15 years, showcasing his class throughout on both sides of the world.