Six options for Hull FC to explore in loan market following Matty Russell injury blow

Ben Olawumi
Tony Smith Hull FC Alamy

Hull FC head coach Tony Smith

Hull FC’s injury woes were dealt another blow at the weekend when loanee winger Matty Russell was forced off in their defeat at Catalans Dragons.

Russell’s loan – from Warrington Wolves – was initially on a two-week basis, but it had been expected to be extended following the game in Perpignan until the injury, which the Warrington Guardian have now confirmed as a torn pec.

Accordingly, the Scotland international faces several weeks out of action at the very least, and will now return to Warrington for the duration of his recovery having been forced off the pitch early on at the Stade Gilbert Brutus with the tear on Saturday night.

With Hull’s squad already thread-bare, also losing full-back Jack Walker to a hamstring injury in the 26-12 defeat against Catalans, Tony Smith is very likely to have to dip back into the loan market for some replacements.

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Below, we’ve taken a look at six Super League players they could set their sights on as a temporary (loan) fix..

Corey Hall (Hull KR)

Corey Hall Hull KR Alamy

Now, we know that the two sides of Hull aren’t fond of one another, but hear us out here! Hall managed eight appearances for KR in 2023 after his move to Craven Park at the end of March, but following the arrival of Niall Evalds in the off-season, he’s found game time a little harder to come by this year.

Named as the unused 18th man against FC on the opening night of the Super League season, he featured off the interchange bench the following week against Leeds Rhinos, but has sat out the last two.

The 21-year-old found himself in the forward pack for the Robins‘ reserves against Warrington over the weekend, so perhaps a viable option to go and get a bit of game time across the city back in a more natural position.

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Ryan Hampshire (Wigan Warriors)

Ryan Hampshire Wigan Warriors Alamy

Given the strength in depth Wigan possess, veteran Hampshire playing just three senior games last year came as no surprise, and when he penned a one-year extension for 2024, it was evident he was going to remain a squad player.

There’s nothing wrong with that at all, just to clarify! But it could make sense for the Black and Whites to hand him some game time on the senior front, still more than capable of filling in out on the wing.

Hampshire was handed a first-team appearance against London Broncos at the weekend, with head coach Matt Peet heavily rotating his squad, resting the likes of Bevan French and Harry Smith. Hampshire put in an impressive display in the capital, making 108 metres from 18 carries as well as getting on the scoresheet.

The Warriors academy product is versatile, being able to play half-back, wing and full-back.

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Tom Nisbet (Leigh Leopards)

Tom Nisbet
Tom Nisbet in action for Leigh Leopards in 2023 – Alamy

Nisbet is another man capable of slotting in out on the wing who – for the last year or so – has found senior appearances hard to come by.

The ex-St Helens ace featured in just three Super League games for Leigh in 2023, that after a 2022 campaign which saw him score five tries in eight appearances en-route to promotion up from the Championship.

Now 24, Nisbet isn’t exactly a young pup anymore, and any chance of a senior appearance would surely be something he’d be interested in after playing for the Leopards’ reserves so far in 2024. That said, given Tom Briscoe’s injury, it’s probably unlikely Leigh would let him go.

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Derrell Olpherts (Leeds Rhinos)

Derrell Olpherts Leeds Rhinos Alamy
Derrell Olpherts in pre-season action for Leeds Rhinos against Wakefield Trinity - Alamy

32-year-old Olpherts struggled to find form in a 2023 campaign – his first at Headingley – which saw him make just 14 appearances, scoring four tries.

And it would appear his struggle for game time is very much going to continue throughout this year, at least based on what we’ve seen so far. 21-year-old Luis Roberts has been the man chosen by Rhinos boss Rohan Smith in all four of their opening games, with the Wales international one of many young talents in the club’s ranks and available for selection.

Olpherts desperately needs game time to put himself in the shop window, if nothing else, given that his contract expires come the end of this season. A loan move may not be the worst idea in the world.

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Jake Bibby (Huddersfield Giants)

Jake Bibby Huddersfield Giants Alamy
Jake Bibby ahead of a Huddersfield game in 2024

The 27-year-old has yet to feature for Huddersfield in 2024, with Giants coach Ian Watson even admitting in last week’s press conference that he’d be open for Bibby to head out on a short-term loan so he can get some regular minutes under his belt.

Watson said Bibby was more than happy at Huddersfield and is willing to fight for his spot in the first team, having had a run out for the reserves at the weekend – but he did say going out on loan could be something they might look at.

“Sometimes you’ve got to look at the quality and level of player that you’re dealing with and Super League is the level Jake deserves to be playing at,” Watson said. “To get him up to speed for when he does come in to play for us.. We’re going to have to probably look at something like that in the not too distant future.”

Bibby has a lot of utility value, being able to play wing, centre or back-row.

Louis Senior (Hull KR)

Louis Senior Hull KR Alamy
Louis Senior in action for Hull KR in 2023

Having made 17 appearances in 2023, scoring eight tries in the process, Senior hasn’t been named in any of Willie Peters‘ first four matchday squads of the new season. He started on the wing in that reserves game against Warrington last weekend, which KR won 30-4.

With his 24th birthday coming up in May, it goes without saying senior (no pun intended) game time is a must, wherever he can find it.

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