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Starting XVII: Is this how Hull FC will line up in 2022?

Last season wasn’t what Hull FC fans dreamed it’d be. After a fast start under new coach Brett Hodgson, Hull FC’s season capitulated despite a dramatic derby day win over rivals and fellow play-off contenders Hull KR. They lost nine out of their last 10 games as they dropped out of the top four into eighth. With a few astute signings and another pre-season under Hodgson, things could turn that around and lead to a much better 2022. The arrival of the aforementioned new signings gives the former Man of Steel plenty of options and should make settling on a first choice 17 rather difficult but that won’t stop us from trying to predict what the Black and Whites’ first choice side will be in 2022.

Fullback: Jake Connor

The great conundrum surrounding Jake Connor throughout his entire career has centred around his ideal position. Under one of the finest fullbacks in Super League history in the shape of coach Hodgson, Connor looked to have found it at number one last term throwing his name into contention for the England fullback berth only to be overlooked. The freedom of the role enables him to play at his very best and he became a devastating threat with the ball last term with over 20 try involvements. That said, the quality of natural fullback Jamie Shaul casts some doubts over Connor’s selection at the back but at the start of the season Connor will be trusted in the role once more. Whether that changes as the season unfolds remains to be seen.

Wingers: Darnell McIntosh and Adam Swift

Another option at fullback for Hull FC is new signing Darnell McIntosh. The former Huddersfield man might have played some of his best rugby at fullback but he now appears to be a settled winger. With an eye for a try, skill and speed he should be an attacking threat for the Black and Whites next term. He’s in a very different mould to Bureta Faraimo and Mahe Fonua both of whom have headed to Castleford, but McIntosh perhaps better fits what Hodgson wants in a winger based off Adam Swift who has to be guaranteed a place on the wing next year after an exceptional season last term in which he was back to his best.

Centres: Carlos Tuimavave and Josh Griffin

Another player who impressed despite Hull FC’s end of season struggles, Carlos Tuimavave appears guaranteed a place at right centre next year despite the other options Hull have in the role including the likes of Cameron Scott. The mercurial Tuimavave offers great skill and is a superb attacking threat much like Josh Griffin. Hull missed him last season following his season-ending injury. If anyone was pleased to see the World Cup delayed, it was him as a good season could see him force his way into Shaun Wane’s squad. The complete centre with both power and pace, his return will be key for Hull next term.

Halfbacks: Josh Reynolds and Luke Gale

After seven successful years with the club, Marc Sneyd’s time with the Black and Whites has come to an end as he joins the club he started his career with, Salford. His replacement is the similar Luke Gale. The 2017 Man of Steel joins the Black and Whites after guiding Leeds to the 2020 Challenge Cup and consecutive fifth place finishes so it stands to reason he could help Hull secure a play-off place after missing out last season. He’ll join Josh Reynolds and the duo could form quite the partnership based on the glimpses we saw from Reynolds and Sneyd last season. Gale’s organisational skills could compliment Reynolds’ skillset. The duo could be quite the threat.

Props: Scott Taylor and Chris Satae

Scott Taylor, along with the likes of Marc Sneyd, can lay claim to playing his part in the best Hull FC team of the Super League era when he helped them secure back-to-back Challenge Cups. Back then he was undoubtedly one of the best props in the league, and he can most certainly rediscover that form after an injury hit season last year. Alongside him in the front row will be Chris Satae. The prop was exceptional last year claiming the Man of the Match against Wigan in the Challenge Cup with one of the best performances from any prop last season. That was only the peak of a run of form which saw him become one of the top props in the league as he devastated defences with his size. He was unlucky to be left out of the Dream Team.

Hooker: Danny Houghton

Probably Super League’s best ever defender going by the number of years he finished the season as the league’s top tackler, Houghton is rock solid at the centre of the field and a great organiser. The Hull FC number nine is part of the DNA at the club and although older now he can still provide the likes of Gale and Reynolds with a good platform.

Second-Rowers: Manu Ma’u and Andre Savelio

Andre Savelio started last season exceptionally and even registered a first career hat-trick against Leigh demonstrating the definite quality he poses as a player. If he can recapture that form next year. he could push for the Dream Team whilst Manu Ma’u is a beast of a player and the perfect foil to Savelio.

Loose-Forward: Joe Cator

When Joe Cator was missing for the Black and Whites last season, things unravelled. He was one of the best loose-forwards in the league last season when available. Hard working and an absolute battler in the middle of the field, he’ll be key for the Black and Whites next year.

Substitutes: Joe Lovodua, Kane Evans, Ligi Sao, Jordan Lane

Danny Houghton will have a tough job on his hands keeping the number nine shirt away from new arrival Joe Lovodua. With speed, great footwork, a superb short ball and the power to pull away from tackles and cause unset defences endless problems, he’s the ideal player to bring off the bench especially considering his ability to play in other roles such as the backrow. Joining him on the bench will be Kane Evans and Ligi Sao. When you can bring on two top notch props to replace the starting duo, you will be tough to dominate down the middle of the field and that’s what this duo will provide Hull next year. I believe Jordan Lane will complete the bench offering great work rate and definite quality allowing Hodgson to keep his back row wonderfully fresh.

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