Hull confident as business end nears

Hull boss Lee Radford believes his side is coming to boil at just the right time after they secured their place in Challenge Cup semi-finals on Sunday.

The Black and Whites set up mouth-watering clash with Leeds after securing a 32-24 victory and Radford says he was proud of his players’ performance.

“There were plenty of special efforts and that was needed,” he said. “This is the juicy part of the season, the excitement starts now.

“Leeds will be a tough semi-final. I don’t think we’ve beaten them in nine games so it will be a challenging and tough Yorkshire derby, but these are the exciting games to be involved in.

“I thought it would be a tight contest. We’d used a lot of interchanges early in the game, so going for goal gave us a bit of a break and refreshed the players.

“The ease in which we got downfield was pleasing. We have strong boys and if we can put some shape on that we’ll be better.

“I thought we could have played more in second half, but we didn’t have shape even though we won the rucks. I’m pleased to be in the semis.”

Mark Minichiello was one of the standout performers against Castleford, playing a key role in Mahe Fonua’s 65th minute try.

He said: “To get over the top of a great team like Cas is very pleasing. A lot of people are talking them up and they are playing really well, but we knew if we played the best we could that we could get a result.

“It was extremely hot out there, especially in the first half and it certainly sapped a lot of us.

“We started the game really well and our outside backs were outstanding getting us going forward and we played off the back of that.

“We play our best football when we’re playing through the ruck and up tempo. We wanted to do that and play our own game today and I thought we controlled the game really well. When we play like that we have some dangerous players that are hard to handle.

“The confidence in the squad is building and going in the right direction. Hopefully we’re coming into a good run leading into the business end of the season.

“Confidence is a great thing and if we keep playing well it should put us in good stead.”

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