RIDDING Hull FC of all its negativity and helping to foster a winning culture are two of the main hopes for Leon Pryce in his first season at KC Stadium.
The early signs are promising. The former Great Britain international played a central role alongside fellow newcomer Marc Sneyd in an enterprising half-back partnership that stunned Huddersfield Giants in Sunday’s opener.
Winning 19-0 at John Smith’s Stadium was some feat but Hull fans know not to get too carried away with such highs as a low generally follows soon after.
Victory against Warrington Wolves in their first home game tonight, however, will leave all concerned more encouraged that their could be a sea change emerging on the east coast.
Pryce, the 33-year-old stand-off who knows a thing or two about winning cultures after some glittering spells with both Bradford Bulls and St Helens, said: “The way the team has rolled over from last season has been great. There was a lot of negativity around Hull after last season and around the place.
“Going to Huddersfield first game was a really big test and to come away with a 19-0 victory is a big pat on the back for everyone – the coaching staff, the players and the conditioners – as it shows the planning and work done has got us right for the start.
“If you break it down to the bare bones, in the energy and attitude department we were the better team. If you bring that to as many games as you can, you are going to win more games than you lose. We talked about our attitude before the game. There was pressure on all of us to perform because we are a big club, but we have to put that win to bed now and move on because we’ve a big test in Warrington.”
Hull, who flopped in 11th last term, know more than most about the visitors’ credentials.
They are seeking a first win in eight versus Warrington at home, having lost six and drawn one since their last victory in 2007.
“I’m not looking at past results and past teams here,” insisted Pryce, who joined from Catalans Dragons on a two-year deal.
“This is a new Hull and I hope with the right attitude we can put a good performance out, that’s what’s important.
“Warrington invest heavily; they’ve just brought in the Man of Steel (Castleford’s Daryl Clark) and have international players, so they will be hard to beat.
“But I’m just concentrating on us; we need to take care of what we do and have confidence.”
Pryce should help instil that; he has an experience and authority about his game that the club has long craved for in such a pivotal position while his pairing with Sneyd, the £100,000 buy from Salford Red Devils who was so instrumental for Castleford on loan last season, instantly clicked.
Taking chances has often been an issue with the Airlie Birds so that ruthless display at Huddersfield was particularly pleasing.
“It was a good all-round team performance,” he added. “For myself and Marc Sneyd, two players new to the team, it was nice to get off like that. It was a high quality game and pleasing we finished sets well and took our chances.
“It was one of those games where every single player played above their average; the whole team were good and if we can get that every week we’ll do well. Getting it every week is the key.”
How to achieve consistency has been the primary issue that has vexed and irritated Hull sides for so long. Pryce, part of the last side from these shores to defeat Australia when playing for Great Britain at Sydney in 2006, offered: “Consistency is not something that just happens.
“You have to learn to lose and throw it in the bin. Likewise, you have to learn how to win, enjoy it and then do the same, too.”
He has won four Grand Final titles and five Challenge Cups while his longevity is illustrated by the fact tonight will mark his 400th Super League appearance having made his debut with home-town Bradford in 1998.
Hull centre Kirk Yeaman racks up his 300th tonight yet still has some way to go to match his colleague. Ahead of his home debut, Pryce concluded: “I got abuse everywhere else I played – but the KC has never been too bad for me.”
Maybe those fans were prescient knowing he may, one day, at last bring alchemy to their side.