Gentle wary of creative Catalans

Hull FC coach Peter Gentle is approaching his team’s play-off clash with Catalan Dragons with optimism, after a season which has often been very testing for the club.

Injuries and inconsistency have played a part in the campaign, which has seen the club reach a Challenge Cup final at Wembley.

“It has been a little frustrating,” Gentle told Love Rugby League.

“Two of our key signings – Gareth Ellis and Daniel Holdsworth – missed a big chunk of the season. And Jacob Miller came in late too.

“So it’s been a bit disruptive at times, but when we’ve had the majority of our squad to choose from, no one ever has a full squad, then we’ve performed quite well.”

Gentle feels positive about his team’s prospects in the play-offs, though he is treating his team’s French opponents with great respect. The knock-out nature of the game will suit the Airlie Birds, he believes.

“Sudden death football suits us,” he added.

“We’ve come through a lot of sudden death football this season. We know that on our day we can compete with the best teams in the competition.

“But Catalan have a big, aggressive forward pack. They’ve got speed around the edges. But they’ve also got some smarts in between to bring it all together.

“We’ve had three very tough, physical games against them. We’ve got two results and they’ve got a result. I think it’ll be another entertaining game.”

With both Hull clubs in this season’s play-offs, Gentle is hopeful that his team and Hull Kingston Rovers can go on a good run this year.

“The city is rugby league mad, it is a genuine rugby league city,” he said.

“To have both sides in the play-offs is a great achievement. 

“It’s good for fans of both clubs. They’re real rugby league supporters.

“I’d love for us both to progress through this competition. We’ve both got a lot of injuries, though, so it’ll be tough.

“But both sides have shown on their day that they can beat anyone, so never say never.”

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