HULL FC captain Danny Houghton says there has been clear-the-air talks among the squad this week as they prepare to try and recover from last week’s “humiliation.”
The long-serving hooker felt the hurt of the record 80-10 defeat against Warrington Wolves as much as anyone and knows they must try and restore pride against Castleford Tigers tonight.
Houghton has enjoyed the highs of winning back-to-back Challenge Cups in 2016 and 2017 but admits the club’s worst Super League run in - the hammering at Warrington was a seventh straight loss - has left them struggling in more ways than one.
“The boys have been hurting all week and we’ve probably had a tough couple of weeks,” he said.
“The boys haven’t been transferring what we’ve been doing at training onto the game day pitch and that comes with confidence.
“Winning breeds confidence and we’re losing games, so we need to scramble or scrape our way to a win.
“It’s hurt me as an individual and the captain, but it’s hurt everyone.
“It’s hurt the fans, the coaching staff and people at the top of the club; it has a knock on effect and it’s been a bit doom and gloom around the place.
“It will always hurt, but we have to move forward and make sure we put a better performance in.
“We’ve had a meeting and some things were said which needed to be said and we all understand what needs to happen to make sure we are not humiliated like that again.”
The 2016 Man of Steel, who turns 30 later this month and has spent his entire career with hometown Hull, continued: “It’s about trying to rekindle some form.
“And rekindle what we had as a unit in 2016 and ‘17 and the early part of this season.
“It’s important to go into 2019 with that belief that we had and knowing what we are capable of achieving.
“We are one game away from getting a little bit of confidence back and finding some spirit and bounce around the place.
“We need to get some enjoyment back into playing rugby league. As a kid that’s why you do it, because you enjoy playing and we need to find that again in our performance.
“We’ve had a little bit of flack and we are in the limelight so we expect that.
“It comes with a successful team. We haven’t had that (Wembley) success in all the time I have been at this club and expectations have gone up.
“Of late we’re not meeting them. We’ve taken the criticism and hopefully we can put a lot right against Castleford.”