Demanding Hull FC head coach Lee Radford says his side must show “more desperation” than Wigan Warriors tonight – or there will be consequences.
Although the Black and Whites have not won since the opening day, their hosts are also suddenly seeking to avoid a fourth successive defeat after setbacks against Brisbane Broncos in the World Club Series, Hull KR and, in emphatic style, Castleford Tigers.
Hull, of course, were embarrassed in the second half at home to Leeds Rhinos last week, having led 12-0 at the turnaround only to be blitzed 43-12.
“My challenge to the group is there is no reason for Wigan to be more desperate for the result than we are,” said Radford.
“They have lost three games on the bounce, as have we and there is nothing that gives them the right to show more desperation than we do. If we don’t show that on Friday it won’t be acceptable.”
Furthermore, Radford has questioned why more of his squad cannot show the high performance quality of captain Gareth Ellis and his deputy Danny Houghton, who remain forces regardless of the circumstances.
“The level of consistency in some of the players, the gap is far wider than the likes of Gaz Ellis, Fetuli Talanoa and Danny Houghton,” he explained.
“Their worst game is not far off their best game, whereas as a group we haven’t had that and that is the reason for our inconsistency over the years.
“Players who have been here a long period of time are part of that. When Houghton and Ellis have an off game it’s still a performance of a decent level and some of our other blokes have got to close that gap up.”
Radford has told his squad they must be aggressive and committed from the off especially against a Wigan side renowned for their physicality and desperate to right the wrongs of a humiliating 42-14 reverse at Castleford last Friday.
“The contact and collision early on are hugely important, both with and without the ball,” he said, as the visitors seek to win a first game since beating Huddersfield Giants 19-0 in round one.
“Physically, we will have to challenge ourselves and in defence we have to be strong because Wigan pride themselves on how hard they carry the football.”