The Debrief: Hull FC’s woes continue, pressure grows on Tony Smith, Huddersfield Giants run riot

Ben Olawumi
Tony Smith

Hull FC head coach Tony Smith

Huddersfield Giants made it three wins in a row as they thumped Hull FC 56-22 at the MKM Stadium on Saturday afternoon, inflicting a seventh defeat of the year on the hosts.

The Giants’ victory never looked in doubt, 40-10 up by the break with three tries and 16 points added in the second half to rubber stamp a win which takes them up into the play-off spots.

With talking points aplenty from the Round 7 clash, Love Rugby League has picked out a few in The Debrief.

Hull FC’s woes continue

In every aspect, Hull were poor, and it’s definitely not the first time this season we’ve had to say that. Unfortunately for those of an FC persuasion, we sense it might not be the last either.

Defensively, the only word we can use to describe the Black & Whites is weak. They’ve conceded 50+ points three times now already this year, including twice against Huddersfield who also stuck 50 on them in the Challenge Cup Sixth Round.

Today’s defeat brought Hull’s highest points tally up the other end in 2024, barring the one game they won – against London Broncos – and saw some youngsters impress again including Jack Charles. That’s about as much positivity as we can offer though.

Ill-discipline plagues Black & Whites yet again

Ligi Sao sin-bin v Huddersfield
Hull FC’s Ligi Sao has now been sin-binned three times in two games against Huddersfield Giants, including the Challenge Cup Sixth Round tie between the pair last month (above)

There are many, many issues which need addressing from an FC point of view, but one of the main ones is undoubtedly their discipline, or lack of.

Following this afternoon’s debacle, they’ve now returned to the top of the Super League card table, shown nine in the seven league games they’ve played to date in 2024.

Three of those came today, including two to Ligi Sao. Being sent to the sin-bin twice in the same game is something which should never be happening, especially when you’ve got as much experience as he has. This level of ill-discipline, evident all year so far across the board where the Black & Whites are concerned, truly beggars belief.

Pressure grows on Tony Smith

It’s only natural, but the pressure on Tony Smith’s shoulders as FC boss is immense now, still with just the one win to their name in 2024 as we approach mid-April. That win came at home against newly-promoted London, and was a game that Hull could have had no complaints losing!

There isn’t another team in Super League you look at and fancy Smith’s side against, and that is a sad state of affairs. The few thousand that made the trip to the MKM Stadium today made their feelings clear at both half-time and full-time, booing both times the hooter sounded.

We’re not suggesting Smith should lose his job, that’s simply not for us to decide, but things need to change and quick. What’s being served up at the minute is unacceptable.

Huddersfield Giants run riot

Huddersfield Giants
Huddersfield Giants celebrate a try in 2024

It’s not all about Hull, of course. Huddersfield were well deserving of their win today, now sat 6th in the Super League table having won four of their opening seven league games – only losing out to St Helens, Wigan Warriors & Hull KR with two of those coming away from home.

The Giants were rampant throughout today’s win at Hull, making it look like a walk in the park at times. As poor as the hosts were in defence, the visitors offered a constant threat and looked like they’d get over the whitewash at every given opportunity.

We’d imagine the only disappointment will be not scoring more than 16 points in that second half having gleaned 40 in the first 40 minutes. Some really impressive individual performances, including from the man below…

Adam Swift haunts former club again

Swift got Sky Sports’ man of the match award, and we’re not going to argue with that, another tremendous showing from the winger who joined Huddersfield from Hull in the off-season just gone.

He’s now faced his former club twice in the last three weeks, and scored seven tries across those two games, with a first-half hat-trick this afternoon adding to his four in the Challenge Cup tie between the pair last month. The 31-year-old has now scored at least once in his last six appearances, and has 12 tries in his first eight games for the Giants.

He had to go off for a HIA late on, which boss Iain Watson didn’t confirm whether he’d passed in his post-match Sky interview. Describing him as an “outstanding player”, he and all of a Giants persuasion will be hoping he does come through that HIA because he would be a huge miss in next week’s Challenge Cup quarter-final at Catalans Dragons.