AS HARD as it is to admit, Hull FC captain Gareth Ellis concedes his side are not as slick as they first believed.
The East Yorkshire club had hoped to strengthen their position at the top of Super League on Thursday but instead endured a painful 31-24 defeat to Castleford Tigers.
After impressive wins over Salford Red Devils and in France, it was a genuine setback for Lee Radford’s squad who were 24-22 ahead going into the final quarter.
“It’s just disappointing we didn’t play well enough to win the game,” said second-row Ellis.
“We’d have been lucky if we’d have got away with it, to be honest, yet we did have our chances.
“I thought Cas played well and were the far better team.
“We were riding high, we really were, after Salford and Catalans, but this has certainly brought us back down to earth.
“We’re not as good as we thought we were.
“We do know we’ve got a good team but I just don’t think we played to our strengths on Thursday night.”
That said, the former England forward believes the Airlie Birds are still progressing having trailed 18-6 at one point.
“We got ourselves into a position where we probably should have held on,” added Ellis.
“(But) we showed we can get back into the game and make a fight of it.
“Maybe 12 months ago it might have been a different story and Cas would have run away with that match.”
It was only the 34-year-old’s second game back following a six-month lay-off due to Achilles surgery.
“It’s been hard being out and it can be lonely just you and the physio,” he said.
“So it’s nice to be back out there with the boys and hopefully now I can stay injury-free and be an asset to the team.
“We’ve Wigan here next Friday. They won another close game against Salford and we definitely need to be better than v Cas.”