Tony Smith hails Hull FC’s bench as they keep within touching distance of Super League play-off spots

Ben Olawumi
Tony Smith, News Images.

Photo by Craig Cresswell/News Images.

Tony Smith praised the impact of Hull FC’s interchanges in this afternoon’s victory over Castleford Tigers, with the Black and Whites picking up a vital two points to remain in the play-off hunt.

Smith’s side had found themselves tied up at 8-8 come the interval at the MKM Stadium. A pulsating second half showing saw them rack up 28 points though, sealing a second successive win.

Prop Chris Satae – whose afternoon had started on the bench – popped up with a try just three minutes into the second 40, and from there on in, the Black and Whites never really looked in any danger.

Adam Swift and Davy Litten also crossed in the second half, alongside Cam Scott who grabbed a brace of tries.

Tony Smith hails his bench players: It’s a squad game

Satae and hooker Brad Dwyer were the two names on Smith’s mind when he sat down post-match. Both of those two will depart come the end of the season.

The 56-year-old boss said: “Big Chris was fantastic with the way he ran the ball and the work that he did for us. At times he was almost unstoppable. He certainly lifted us.

“Brad Dwyer did too, it was another really energetic performance and he may well have turned the game on its head a bit with that energy that he injected into the match.

“The people who are coming on for us are making a big effort to lift us when we need it. They’re so important, these bench boys.”

Smith believes Hull FC still have more to give

A two-time Grand Final winner as the head coach of Leeds Rhinos, veteran Smith notably made the cross-city switch to take the helm at Hull FC ahead of this season having departed rivals Hull KR in 2022.

During his time in charge across the city, he guided KR to a play-off semi-final, losing out to Catalans Dragons in 2021.

Flash forward two years, and Smith now heads up a Black and Whites side sat two points outside the play-off places having picked up a third win in four games. For the boss though, there’s still more to come before the play-offs can even be mentioned.

He said: “We’re not getting carried away. Our performance was not outstanding today.

“It’s just been a matter for some time of giving it our best shot [in each game], seeing what happens and where that takes us. We’re still doing that.

“We’re still developing as a team. If we keep trying hard we might make it uncomfortable for a few.”

With eight games to go before the play-offs, FC’s charge towards the top six next sees them take on Huddersfield Giants away from home.

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