RELAXED Hull FC signing Marc Sneyd last night insisted any talk of pressure on his young shoulders just goes “straight over” his head.
It is not in any way a sign of arrogance from the 23 year-old, whose talent and ability persuaded the Airlie Birds to fork out £100,000 to Salford Red Devils for his signature last autumn.
Rather it is his innate easy-going attitude which has always characterised his game, not least last season when Sneyd’s brilliance while on loan at Castleford Tigers was one of the main reasons behind the West Yorkshire club’s annus mirabilis.
Granted, the expectation levels in Hull go up a notch or two, not just due to the city’s fanaticism about the sport but especially given that club’s recent history of seeing one hopeful half-back after another come and go, largely failing in between.
With that six-figure fee on his head, too, most would understand if Sneyd had some small sense of trepidation.
However, he told The Yorkshire Post: “I don’t tend to get too bothered about things like transfer fees.
“A lot of things just go straight over my head with regards to that.
“I just keep myself calm and play the best I can. I should be alright. I’m enjoying it here.”
Similarly, the subject of their chronic lack of a genuine playmaker – ever since the days of Paul Cooke who starred in their last major success, the 2005 Challenge Cup – is met with an insouciant shrug.
“That’s another one that’s gone straight over my head,” added Sneyd, whose tally of 30 try assists in Super League last term was bettered only by Huddersfield Giants stand-off Danny Brough.
“Everyone I speak to tells me about the half-backs and Hull and stuff like that.
“But I’m not really listening to them if I’m honest. I’m really not that bothered.”
It is a sign of his carefree approach that he also, inadvertently, irritated some fans ahead of Sunday’s derby against Hull KR, which Hull lost 28-22.
“Yeah, I got a little bit of stick on Twitter for calling it a friendly the other week so I probably shouldn’t say that too much now,” he smiled.
Sneyd kicked three goals and showed some early promise in his partnership with fellow new recruit Leon Pryce, the 33-year-old ex-Great Britain international.
“It was a good game and very physical for a pre-season match, but I can’t think of a better way to go into a Super League season more prepared than with a game like that derby.
“It was good lining up with Leon again, too. We’ve played two games together now.
“I think it’s just a case of us both getting to know what each other likes and the positives of each other. We’re getting there and will get better.”
Hull fans are desperate that Sneyd brings some much-needed spark to their attacking play following a dismal season where they finished 12th in Super League.
Asked whether head coach Lee Radford will allow him to adopt his natural style – all sniping runs, daring dummies, clever passes and a stellar kicking repertoire – he added: “I think so.
“That is the main part of my game – the natural side, just wanting to play off-the-cuff type rugby – so any opportunity we get to do that we’ll probably take it.
“Prycey enjoys playing like that as well so it should be a perfect fit for both of us.
“He’s been real good; he’s come in, taken charge and also took a little bit of a back seat as well and let me do so at times so it’s looking good.
“Once games start you get yourself into a bit more of a routine and I can’t wait for Super League.”
That date arrives on February 8 for Hull as they venture over to Huddersfield Giants, with Sneyd hoping to emulate what he achieved in Castleford colours – reaching Wembley and finishing just two points behind leaders and eventual champions St Helens.
Tigers’ campaign petered out in the end and, like most of their squad, Sneyd’s form dipped, too.
But he remains confident he can help inspire Hull, whose other main capture Mark Minichiello, the ex-Sydney Rooster and Gold Coast Titans second-row, scored two tries versus Rovers.
“With the players we’ve signed, the minimum aim has to be the top eight,” said Sneyd, whose idiosyncratic left-footed style saw him kick 99 goals in Super League last season, more than any other rival.
“But that’s the minimum.”
Meanwhile, fears that Hull captain Gareth Ellis may miss his own testimonial on Sunday at former club Wakefield trinity Wildcats were allayed yesterday when the ex-England second-row insisted the knee problem that saw him withdraw in the first half versus Hull KR was not serious.