Hull FC are an enigma going into the new Super League season.
They have a brand new spine and an exciting coach in Tony Smith with a prove track record of success at Hull KR, Warrington Wolves and Leeds Rhinos.
But what team will he pick to drive Hull FC to success in 2023?
Fullback: Tex Hoy
Replacing Jake Connor who has returned to Huddersfield Giants is the job of Tex Hoy who 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. He should combine nicely with his former Knights teammate Jake Clifford.
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 Rhinos in the off-season. Both players will have to be on top form with the likes of Josh Griffin, Cam Scott, Connor Wynne 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 Josh Griffin
After the loss of Manu Ma’u to Catalans Dragons, there is extra pressure on the brilliant Andre Savelio to lead the way in the backrow. He could be joined by Jordan Lane but we think the exciting former centre Josh Griffin could get the nod instead.
Loose Forward: Brad Fash
One of the best Hull FC players in a tough season in 2022, Brad Fash has been awarded with the number 13 shirt in 2023 and will provide power from the base of the scrum.
Bench: Joe Lovodua, Joe Cator, Kane Evans and Jordan Lane
Joe Lovodua is an exciting versatile asset for Hull FC to bring off the bench whilst the ability of Joe Cator and Jordan Lane to play both second-row and through the middle at 13 is a key asset and will allow Fash to move to prop for spells. Kane Evans will provide impact. We have left new signing Brad Dwyer out after he was awarded the number 33 shirt in a surprising twist. It is unclear what this means if anything.