HAT-TRICK hero Jordan Turner produced the class as Hull FC ran riot in the 215th city derby but Lee Radford’s dream return from retirement inspired victory.
The Black and Whites assistant coach hung up his boots last season but stepped up yesterday following an injury crisis and delivered a typically fulsome display.
The 33-year-old prop fired his side with a series of bustling charges, his customary solid defence and also marked his fairytale comeback with a vital try as Hull, for a few hours at least, ventured to the top of Stobart Super League.
After a nervy first half, where the scores were locked at 6-6, the patient hosts’ greater attacking threat came to the fore as they ripped subdued Rovers apart, young centre Turner profiting most.
The impressive performance, however, was further evidence of the great strides being made under Australian coach Peter Gentle – this being a sixth straight win.
Well organised and resilient in defence, while keeping basic errors to a minimum, it was clear to see yesterday that Hull are buying in to his ideas.
On his first real experience of the fierce Hull rivalry, in front of 18,979 supporters, Gentle admitted: “I can understand now why the city gets so hyped up about it.
“It’s a great atmosphere and we spoke during the week about putting a show on for the fans.
“I hope they can go enjoy this one. We probably weren’t at our best at times but the further the game went on, the more composure we showed and we were able to play.
“I can start to see the confidence building in this side but we’re not getting carried away and know we’ve another big test at Huddersfield on Monday.
“I’m real proud of them though. We knew what Radders would bring with his experience and, for the third week running, we went up against a bigger side but I wouldn’t swap my boys for anyone.”
Knowing Hull FC were so light up front, Rovers packed their bench with four forwards, including captain Ben Galea who made his first appearance of the season after knee surgery.
However, it had limited effect, especially as one of them – Rhys Lovegrove – was accidentally knocked out by his own team-mate Kris Welham and missed most of the match.
Hull, with Radford and captain Andy Lynch setting the lead up front, enjoyed almost all the territory in the first half but had nothing to show for it.
After a scoreless 32 minutes, Rovers, typically, broke the deadlock with only their second real venture into the Hull 20, Craig Hall rising above Richard Horne next to the posts to collect Michael Dobson’s hanging kick.
However, the home faithful were outraged given the officials missed Dobson’s blatant forward pass to Welham in the play beforehand.
The scrum-half converted but the hosts then responded immediately.
Radford, who had been prowling the touchline waiting for his second stint when Rovers scored, made the necessary impact but Brett Seymour was the catalyst.
The Australian scrum-half finally found a hole in the Rovers defence with his jinking run back inside and the assistant coach plundered over from close range.
Tickle converted and did so again after Hull extended their lead within 80 seconds of the second period.
Ex-Airlie Birds prop Scott Wheeldon spilled at the play-the-ball allowing Turner the position to strike.
The young centre – switched to the right as Tony Martin was rested with Kirk Yeaman returning from injury – showed great strength to muscle over but gained a dubious benefit of the doubt decision from video referee Ian Smith with Rovers full-back Shannon McDonnell appearing to prevent grounding.
Tickle improved and added a 50th minute penalty when another driving Radford run saw Josh Hodgson go high.
Turner wasted a great opportunity to put Will Sharp over when he broke clear and ignored his winger but made up for the error when capitalising on Tickle’s quick play-the-ball in the 64th minute.
As disorganised Rovers tired, Turner was then put into space again by the excellent Richard Whiting, England centre Yeaman finishing off a remarkable movement involving 11 passes for one of the tries of the season.
Seymour then sliced over himself before Turner completed his treble in the final seconds, racing 80 metres when yet another Rovers pass went to ground.
Disappointed Hull KR head coach Craig Sandercock, whose side have just three wins, admitted: “Hull were way too good for us.
“They played some outstanding rugby league and controlled the ball really well.
“We blew some opportunities in the first half, one of which was an out-and-out try, and you can’t do that against good sides.
“Rhys Lovegrove is the number one tackler in Super League and we missed his defence in the middle but (with regards Turner’s first try) I’m not talking about refs any more.”
Hull FC: McKinnon; Sharp, Turner, Yeaman, Briscoe; Horne, Seymour; Radford, Houghton, Lynch, Manu, Tickle, Whiting. Substitutes: Aspinwall, Ellis, Bowden, Pitts.
Hull KR: McDonnell; Hall, Horne, Welham, Hodgson; Murrell, Dobson; Clinton, Withers, Taylor, Mika, Hodgson, Watts. Substitutes: Paea, Wheeldon, Lovegrove, Galea. Referee: Richard Silverwood (Mirfield).