Identifying the top signings of each club over a period of 25 years is difficult to say the least.
What criteria do we base it on? Rather than individual points scored, we base our choice on the impact each signing had on their respective clubs.
Here are Hull FC’s top five Super League signings.
Hull’s free-spending nature in the past decade has seen some unbelievable stars join the club, but none have perhaps been more influential than Gareth Ellis. Signed from Wests Tigers ahead of the 2013 season, the forward proved just why so many teams were chasing him on his return to the UK. He captained FC to back-to-back Challenge Cup success in 2016 and 2017 and even came out of retirement in 2019 as a 38-year-old to help Hull out during an injury crisis. One of the toughest and fittest to ever take to the field, Ellis was ever the ultimate professional, finally hanging up his boots for good in 2020.
Despite many other Hull signings staying longer, Richard Swain had so much of an impact during his four seasons that he has to make this list. The New Zealand international was an instant hit on Humberside, being one of the key performers in Hull’s 2005 Challenge Cup success with an unbeatable work-rate that laid the platform for Danny Houghton in later years. Having racked up 93 appearances, Swain retired midway through 2007 with a back injury.
After starring for Canterbury and Parramatta in the NRL, Jason Smith made the move to Humberside ahead of the 2001 Super League season. Loose-forward Smith could not have had a bigger influence on Hull, scoring 17 tries in 80 appearances over a period of four seasons. Known for his tremendous work ethic and desire to win, the Queenslander proved a big hit with the FC faithful and is still thought of fondly to this day.
Following a ten-year spell in the NRL, rampaging enforcer Mark O’Meley moved to Hull just in time for the 2010s. Four seasons and 90 appearances later, and the formidable forward had left his mark on Super League, impressing with some barnstorming runs and leadership qualities. A Grand Final winner back in Australia, O’Meley never lifted silverware with Hull, however, he is still greatly admired in East Yorkshire.
Most fans would probably think that Richard Whiting began his career with the black-and-whites. That, however, couldn’t be further from the truth. Whiting actually came through the ranks at Featherstone – the town where he grew up – making his debut in 2003. Soon, though, his potential was realised and Hull FC came calling. It was a match made in heaven with the utility player staying on Humberside for 12 years. With 76 tries, 30 goals and two drop-goals in 258 appearances, Whiting had truly established himself as an honorary Airlie Bird, winning the Challenge Cup in 2005.