Sam Tomkins believes Hull FC coach under pressure and questions player desire


Sam Tomkins believes Tony Smith is under increasing pressure as head coach of Hull FC – before admitting while he believes their season could shift with victory in the derby on Friday, he has questioned the desire of the Black and Whites players.

Hull head across the city to face bitter rivals Hull KR with just a solitary win to their name all season, and that came in dramatic circumstances against newly-promoted London. They also conceded 50 at Huddersfield last week to exit the Challenge Cup in somewhat embarrassing fashion.

And Tomkins, speaking on Sky Sports on Wednesday, admitted he felt Smith was coming under pressure as Hull look to snap a miserable start to 2024.

When asked if Smith was under pressure, Tomkins said: “I think so, given the results they’ve come up with this year. Only getting one win and that being against London, the newly-promoted side which was the closest game London have played this year.

“I think what’s been the most disappointing is it’s looked like the desire hasn’t been there from Hull. I think from a players’ point of view you never want to be criticised for your effort and your desire but I think the ease that Leigh Leopards scored some tries in the game against them recently, it must have been tough to watch.

“Obviously, it all falls on the coach’s toes at some point so I’d imagine he is under some pressure.”

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However, Tomkins stressed that if Hull were to pull off what many would consider a shock win at Craven Park on Friday lunchtime, it could have a dramatic impact on the fortunes of both Smith and the FC squad.

He said: “This will be the easiest week of Tony Smith’s 2024 season I’m sure because the Hull derby is different. Something we heard from Elliot Minchella was they’re expecting the best of Hull FC, now how good that is I’m not too sure but league form goes out the window, it’s about passion, it’s about rivalry, it’s about 80 minutes.

“Can Hull FC do a job on Hull KR over at Hull KR’s stadium? Everyone would forget the four losses they’ve had this year if they can go and win and turn over the Robins, as I’m sure they’re wanting to do, I think that’ll completely change Hull FC’s season.”

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