Hull FC high on Pacific spirit

Hull FC‘s surge to the top of Super League this season has had one important component in the engine driving it.

The Airlie Birds have a hugely strong Polynesian contingent, with Fetuli Talanoa, Sia Manu, Frank Pritchard, Iafeta Paleaaesina, Carlos Tuimavave and Mahe Fonua all playing important roles.

For front-rower Liam Watts, the fraternal bond that exists between the Pacific players has influenced tthe whole squad at FC.

“Normally, you get one or two Islanders at a club, and they can get a bit isolated, becuase there’s not many of them,” Watts told Love Rugby League.

“We’ve got a decent core of Islanders at Hull, we’ve got six of the boys there who all look after each other.

“They are like brothers, even though they’re not related.

“We call them ‘The Brothers’, because they stick together no matter what, through thick and thin.

“They’ve really come in and accepted what we do as a club, and the culture that we’ve got.

“They’ve really come out of their shells. Frank Pritchard is an absolute monster at times!

“But then off the pitch he’s a gentle giant, he’s funny, he’s laughing, making jokes.

Sika Manu at training wants to kill everyone, but you get him off the pitch and he won’t say a word.

“It is good with the kind of guys they are. They’re a good combination.”

For Hull hooker Danny Houghton, the Pacific brotherhood also brings some seriously high quality playing ability to the party, as well as their off-field contributions.

“Their performances and how they play has helped the team,” said Houghton.

“But what they also bring to the club is a real family mentality.

“They make sure that we stick together, that the families are involved.

“We do a lot of team events together. It probably doesn’t mean a lot to some people, but when you’re with those players, it means you want to fight hard for your mates.

“It’s shown this season that we’re a real tight bunch who will work hard for each other.”

While the Pacific players at Hull have not yet introduced any ritual dances or more specific Polynesian cultutal events to the squad’s schedule, their emphasis on bonding is helping the squad stay focused.

“I’d like it if they would do that!” Houghton smiled, when asked if any hakas or sivi tau had been performed by the squad yet.

“The Islanders have always got a smile on their face, they’re always happy, and it makes you feel good.

“They keep us really tight, and make sure that when we turn up for training, they’re all bouncing.

“You feel good going into games and training. They’re great guys.”

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