Hull FC recruitment report: retention plans, 2025 targets and squad depth scrutinised

Aaron Bower

As 2024 reaches the midway point in proceedings, it’s safe to say all Super League clubs are turning a watchful eye to next season.

Nowhere is that more true arguably than at Hull FC. A play-off push has long since evaporated and they are waiting for new head coach John Cartwright to arrive later this year. But what sort of squad will he inherit, and what level of business do the Black and Whites need to do in order to ensure they’re ready to hit the ground running in 2025?

Here’s our latest Recruitment Report, this time focussing on all things Hull FC.

Players under contract for 2025

Fullback: Jack Walker, Davy Litten, Logan Moy
Wing: Tom Briscoe, Harvey Barron, Liam Tindall, Lewis Martin
Centre: Liam Sutcliffe
Half-back: Jake Trueman, Jack Charles
Prop/13: Jack Ashworth, Franklin Pele, Yusuf Aydin, Herman Ese’ese, John Asiata, Kye Armstrong, Will Gardiner, Matty Laidlaw, Nick Staveley
Hooker: Morgan Smith
Second-row: Ligi Sao, Jayden Okunbor, Brad Fash, Jordan Lane, Zach Jebson.

Who else is joining?

Four more players are yet to be announced as Hull signings for 2025, but will join: Zak Hardaker – as first revealed by Love Rugby League – Oliver Holmes and Salford hooker Amir Bourouh.

The other big addition is the return of Jordan Abdull from near rivals Hull Kingston Rovers, as revealed by Hull Live earlier this week.

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Who’s still off-contract?

Hull have actually announced very little in terms of retentions for next season. As of the time of writing, they have the following players whose futures have still not been publicly confirmed:

Denive Balmforth, Lennon Bursell, Joe Cator, Jeylan Hodgson, Danny Houghton, Sully Medforth, Cam Scott, Charlie Severs, Carlos Tuimavave, Mitieli Vulikijapani.

However, the Hull Daily Mail have already reported that several of the club’s younger players are set to be retained in 2025. The futures of the likes of Tuimavave and Houghton, however, seems much less clear.

What’s their quota situation?

Hull may well have room to manoeuvre in the overseas market next year – even with Asiata’s signing already confirmed. They have five overseas players contracted for 2025: Jayden Okunbor, Herman Ese’ese, Ligi Sao, Franklin Pele and Asiata.

Tuimavave looks increasingly unlikely to be retained, meaning Hull are almost certain to be active in the NRL market.

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Where do they need to strengthen?

There are some fairly significant holes in Hull’s squad for 2025 as it stands. Bourouh will give Hull some more experience at hooker but you would expect the club would continue to look for potential additions in that area, with only Bourouh and Morgan Smith under contract as it stands.

Hardaker’s addition at centre suggests a likely starting pairing with Liam Sutcliffe, but Hull also look light there, and may well look to bolster their ranks in the three-quarters with at least one more frontline signing in that department.

Could anyone under contract leave?

Nothing is ever certain, but the current situation with some of Hull’s senior players out on loan suggests they have an uncertain future. As of the time of writing, Franklin Pele is out on loan at York Knights, while Jayden Okunbor is on a similar short-term arrangement at Bradford Bulls.

Whether Cartwright decides to try and move either of those two players out remains to be seen – but it would free up significant cap and quota space if they do.

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