The chances of seeing Hull FC in the play offs now seem over after a defeat to Leeds Rhinos which leaves them six points behind Hull KR and Warrington Wolves in fifth and sixth with three games to go in the season.
They simply had to beat Leeds to keep their hopes alive but lost 28-12 as Sam Lisone scored a shocking hat trick for the away side as Hull failed to recover from a poor first half.
Speaking on BBC Radio Humberside, it was the performance of his side, especially that first half, that Tony Smith blamed for the defeat:
“Yeah, it wasn’t the performance we were after, particularly the first half. I thought we were going to get together a bit at half time.
“Scotty Taylor’s error, trying to put a little hole in that balloon straight after half time. That happens, and I’m just talking to him about that.
“I thought we were way better in the second half, we looked more like what we’ve played like at times this year. The first half didn’t resemble it, it looked lack of intensity, lack of smarts at times.
“We’re not the biggest team in the world and we’re not going to go through the middle of too many teams in the comp, everybody knows that. When we moved the ball a little bit, particularly coming out of our own half, we had some success and got on a bit of a roll and it allowed us to go down the other end and see what it was like down the other end of the field.
“We just didn’t do enough of that in the first half, but even when we did I thought we just a little bit forcing things rather than seeing what to play and picking the right plays. But, listen, that’s us.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Leeds. They were more intense than us. They deserve their win. They deserved to be in a lead, a healthy lead at half-time.
“I don’t know whether some of it’s a bit of a distraction of whether we can make it or not make it, whether that handling, that pressure. We got a bit of an answer to that today.
“We just need to get that intensity and a bit of our DNA back into our performances. Hopefully we can find that next week.”
That said, he also highlighted injuries to his key men:
“It is a tough time of the year when you’re losing people. I’m not going to make those as excuses, but Jordan Lane played over three quarters of that game at left centre.
“He sadly picked up an injury when he went for that offload and he’s got some bruising around his ribs that he needed replacing. So yeah, it sort of throws you out of whack, so you’re down to three subs and your rotation and then Taylor goes off for HIA, so your bench doesn’t look exactly what you planned.
“That’s the time of year it is. The good news is we’ll get Carlos back next week, that’s an older head that comes back into the team.
“I thought Danny Houghton was terrific again today and Swifty, with Swifty who is Mr Consistency for us as well.
“I thought Jack Brown probably had his best game. I said that last week and I think he’s gone again. So he’s upped it.”