Tony Smith makes half-back his first signing as Hull FC boss

James Gordon
Jake Clifford

Hull FC have signed Australian half-back Jake Clifford to partner Jake Trueman for the 2023 Super League season.

Clifford, 24, is Tony Smith’s first signing since he succeeded Brett Hodgson as coach at the MKM Stadium.

Joining from Newcastle Knights, Clifford has signed a two-year deal with the club holding an option for a further year.

He said: “I’m really excited to have signed. When Hull approached me, they made me feel like I was really wanted and that was a massive appealing factor for me.

“I’ve got my mate, Tex Hoy, heading over to Hull for next season, as well, so I’m looking forward to linking up with him again.”

Last season, Hull bid farewell to Josh Reynolds mid-season, while Luke Gale has also departed the club.

A disappointing season where they missed out on the play-offs saw the departure of Hodgson.

But Trueman had already been recruited from Castleford, as had Leeds hooker Brad Dwyer and centre Liam Sutcliffe and Tex Hoy before Smith’s arrival.

Jake Clifford has made 67 appearances in the NRL for the Knights and North Queensland.

Coach Smith added: It’s very exciting. I think Jake is a terrific young half-back with a lot of capabilities and he has had some success already at his young age in the best rugby league competition in the world.

“I’m really looking forward to working with Jake. We can help each other and I think he’ll be great for the team. We can help him develop and gain more confidence.

“He’s got a great kicking game, as well as a strong running game and a very good passing game, so he possesses a lot of quality attributes that will complement us as a team.”

Full-back Jake Connor departed Hull FC recently to join Huddersfield, while they have also lost forward Manu Ma’u to Catalans.

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