Hull FC forward Mark Minichiello says team-mate Jake Connor needs to work on his consistency after the pair clashed in the closing stages of their defeat to Castleford on Thursday.
Connor was shown a yellow card for dissent by referee Ben Thaler with three minutes to go, and the 24-year-old appeared to exchange words with Italy international Minichiello as he left the field.
The Airlie Birds gave themselves a glimmer of hope at the Mend-a-Hose Jungle, reducing the gap to 26-12 early in the second half, but three further scores for the Tigers wrapped up a comprehensive 44-12 win.
Defeat leaves Lee Radford’s side needing to beat St Helens next week and hoping that Castleford fail to win away at Wigan on Thursday night if they are to reach the play-offs.
Minichiello has played down any talk of a rift with Connor, and admits that his side have it all to do to reach the top five in what could be the final appearance of his illustrious career.
Speaking to Hull Live, he said: He’s [Connor] got to be more consistent. I don’t really want to say too much.
“He’s a very talented kid but there’s lots of areas that he can work on to be a better player.”
On his side’s faint play-off hopes, the 37-year-old added: “Ultimately we need to win and rely on other results.
“If we want to give ourselves any chance we have to win and just hope results go our way. It’s going to be hard to get up but it’s potentially the last game of the year and the last game of my career so I guess if you can’t get up for it then you’re playing the wrong game.
“Over the last month I don’t know how many chances you can get and how many chances can you be given to make the five? We haven’t taken any of them and that’s the most disappointing thing.”