HULL FC rookie Jamie Shaul admits being dropped was the best thing that could have happened to him.
The exciting young full-back exploded onto the scene last season, scoring a brace, including one sensational individual effort, during their Easter Monday win on debut at Wakefield.
He did not command a regular spot, thereafter, due to Shannon McDonnell’s involvement but when the Australian’s season was ended by an Achilles injury during July’s Challenge Cup semi-final against Warrington Wolves, Shaul suddenly found himself stepping out at Wembley.
He scored five tries in Hull’s next eight games, was one of the few to perform in their Cup final defeat to Wigan and new head coach Lee Radford started this season with the former bricklayer as his first-choice No1.
Shaul, 21, played the opening five games but then, after a poor display at Castleford, was left out versus Widnes Vikings with Radford preferring Jordan Rankin, McDonnell now apparently well out of the picture.
There was an immediate recall for the Super League win over Salford Red Devils when he scored his third try of the season and he crossed twice more in the Challenge Cup defeat against the same opponents.
However, most impressive was his man-of-the-match performance in Thursday’s much-needed 30-6 victory over last season’s League Leaders Huddersfield Giants, when Shaul’s evasive skills often proved the undoing of their visitors.
“Radders has put a lot of faith in me,” he said, with Thursday’s derby at Hull KR now looming.
“At the beginning of the season I wasn’t too happy with my form.
“I think it took me to get dropped to realise what I had and kick on.
“I’m just grateful he’s got that faith in me.
“It was the first setback I’d had professionally.
“You can take it two ways can’t you? Either sulk about it or work hard and kick on. I worked hard, kicked on and I’m back now.
“There was nothing in particular Radders wanted me doing differently.
“I just wasn’t playing as I should have been.
“I agreed with his reasons (for being dropped) and I’m glad to be back.”
Hull’s fourth win of the season sees them up to sixth and it leaves them with renewed confidence ahead of their short trip across to the east of the city.
“The derbies are the games I live for,” enthused Shaul, who was brought up a fierce Black and Whites fan.
“They don’t get much bigger than that especially going to Craven Park as well.
“Everyone gets behind them there and I just can’t wait.
“I thought our pack were massive for us against Huddersfield and they set the platform for us.
“Gaz Carvell was huge and when the forwards play like that it gives us outside backs time and space on the ball which we love.
“We know we have to kick on now against Rovers.”