Tony Smith explains why Hull FC disappointed in 2023

Hull FC were beaten by Leeds Rhinos all but ending their play off hopes for 2023 with their last play off game still a semi final defeat to Wigan Warriors in 2o20.

They are in a state of rebuild at the present moment as they look to climb back up the table under the command of Tony Smith as he rebuilds the squad.

He has explained that the focus on 2024 has worked against the black and whites in 2023.

He said on BBC Radio Humberside: “We’ve had a number of occasions where a number of our senior players haven’t been available. That’s something that we’d like to improve on and address for next year.

“Having them in better form as well, there’s some things that certainly need to improve here as we can’t finish at this part of the table and not have things to improve.

“We’ve got plenty of things that we need to improve and we’ll address some of those during the off-season. We are changing some personnel as well, both on and off the field, if that needs to happen too.

“I’d be happy to talk in more detail about some of that at the end of the season. We’re still in our seasons and we need to focus on what we’re doing now and not worry too much about next season also.

“I think that can be a distraction and it is. It has been for some, not all, but I think it has been a distraction for some. That has an effect on the results and performances.

“So I think definitely managing some of that, both from the club’s point of view, but also with some individuals. Some have handled it really well and some haven’t. So there’s some of those sort of distractions that happen throughout the year.”

He revealed that the psychology of previous seasons could be a factor too:

“Possibly. I’m no psychologist, but when you’re told that’s what happens, sometimes you start to believe it. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy sometimes, or even the subconscious takes over.

“Some of our result last week was affected by the players trying too hard to get the monkey off their back about finishing the season not so well. I think they overdid it.

“They made some errors in last week’s game because they were trying too hard to push things to get out of the situation where people can say to them that they ain’t getting a slump at this time of the year.

“I’m not looking for sympathy for them, I just think that’s the reality of it. So yeah, there’s a whole lot of things that we just need to focus on this week, this game, and not let those things become performance related.”

He also spoke on fans:

“I think we owe them a whole heap this year and unfortunately we haven’t been able to do that.

“Hopefully at times we’ve been able to entertain them and show them our gratefulness about their support, whether we’ve won or not.

“That’s what true support is about and we appreciate that and don’t take that for granted by any means. The numbers that turned up last week at Cas were enormous and really grateful for the away support but also the home support.

“We’ll be doing our best to leave the home ground and home support with a good performance if we can do that. We’ll be pleased with at least that.

“We probably won’t look back on our season and be pleased with the whole thing by a long shot but certainly we’d like to reward them with one last good one at home.”