Tony Smith hails Hull’s drastic turnaround despite defeat

Josh McAllister
Tony Smith, Hull FC, News Images.

Photo by Steve Flynn/News Images.

Hull head coach Tony Smith praised his side’s ‘drastic’ turnaround despite falling to a 20-12 defeat to St Helens at the Totally Wicked Stadium. 

The side were beaten 60-16 at home in Round Four to Salford at home, but showed massive improvements against world champion Saints.

It was a close game, with Smith believing his side could have pinched it if not for fine margins and bad luck. 

St Helens were made to work hard in the 20-12 victory, while Hull had their chance to potentially snatch the victory.

Scott Taylor’s second half try saw his side take the lead, before losing it again with tries from Jack Welsby and Jon Bennison for the hosts.

Brad Dwyer could have turned it around at 16-12, only to fail to ground the ball before Bennison scored his second to secure the home win in the dying minutes. 

“It was drastically different to last week,” Smith said.

“We had to go out and prove a bit to ourselves really. That’s the first time that we’ve been able to dig that deep defensively and for as long periods as we did. 

“I’m going to say St Helens played well, it’s the best they’ve played since they’ve played Penrith. 

“They had to dig deep. We made them earn it, whereas last week, as good as Salford were, I don’t think we tested them enough.

“It’s a big change from last week. I thought we were a bit unlucky – with our own luck. Cameron Scott puts that ball down, the intercept, he’s within a fingertip. He snipped his nails before the game, had he not, he may have got it!

“Tony Smith: “I can take a whole lot out of tonight”

“And Brad (Dwyer) fumbled close to the line. Had he just dived on it, I think he would have slid right in there. 

“They’re fine margins and easy decisions, but it’s easy when you’re in the stands and hitting the pause button. I’m also going to say that we caused our own problem just before half-time. 

“I’m all for the short drop-outs, but we have systems in place where if we don’t catch it, we have a couple of sweepers out the back and we had to make some adjustments and some positional changes and people weren’t quite in the right spot. It cost us.

“In terms of effort and commitment, I think everyone saw that the pride these players had in the performance and in the badge.

“We learned some hard lessons last week. We’d like to find that intensity that we had tonight and build on that.

“I can take a whole lot out of tonight and so can the players and hopefully so can the faithful supporters. 

“We are capable of doing it and we can find that intensity, we just need to do it more regularly and on a more consistent basis.”

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