Adam Pearson confident Hull FC’s new coaching duo have the tools to complete job

HULL FC owner Adam Pearson wants to give the caretaker coaching set-up of Andy Last, Kieron Purtill and Gareth Ellis “every opportunity” to secure the roles on a permanent basis and remains confident they will.

Hull FC chairman Adam Pearson: Backing duo. Picture: PA

Such backing is certainly a significant boost for the management team at KCOM Stadium as they prepare to finally take up their roles in earnest.

Head coach Lee Radford was sacked after eight years in charge on March 12 following a demoralising 38-4 home defeat to Warrington Wolves.

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Long-serving assistant Last was put in temporary charge along with Purtill, the former England Knights chief who joined Hull’s coaching team last October after leaving his post as Widnes Vikings head coach.

However, rugby league was shut down just a few days after the Warrington loss due to coronavirus so the duo have still yet to take control of a game.

Nevertheless, Super League clubs hope to be able to resume training next month with an eye on returning to action in August so Last and Purtill will be looking to quickly make an impression.

Iconic former captain Ellis, of course, is still an integral part of their playing squad, having come out of retirement last year.

However, the 39-year-old, who coached the reserves side in 2018, is also set to play a role in the new coaching team as they look to overcome their poor start to the campaign.

Hull's Gareth Ellis: Lending a hand. Picture: SWPix

Asked about the coaching situation, Pearson told The Yorkshire Post: “We’re going to give Andy and Kieron Purtill – and Gareth Ellis who’s also helping out in there with them – that chance.

“Those two have an abundance of experience at all levels of the game. We’re confident, if they get the right breaks, they can stake a claim for the job and we want to give them every opportunity to do so.”

That will quell any speculation that Stephen Kearney, the former Kiwis coach who was part of Hull’s 2005 Challenge Cup winning side, will be heading back to East Yorkshire after his surprise sacking by New Zealand Warriors last week.

Details on Super League’s return are expected to be outlined tomorrow and Pearson expects his club will start some part-time training at least “within the next three or four weeks.”

During the enforced hiatus, two Hull players have announced they will not be at the club in 2021 with Fijian winger Ratu Naulago securing a return to rugby union with Bristol Bears and stand-off Albert Kelly confirming he will head home to Australia.

Clearly, they are both significant losses but Pearson insisted: “Albert and Ratu I envisage as being our only departures.

“I can’t see any other departures at this stage. I know there’s been some doubt about whether Josh Jones is happy in the east but we’ll see how that pans out over the season.

“We believe we have a very strong squad and have options at half-back already in the club with Jake (Connor), Carlos (Tuimavave) and Marc (Sneyd).

“But from what I’m seeing and hearing from Albert, he’s very fit and raring to go. I’m sure he’s going to have a fine end to the season.”

Unlike some clubs trying to prepare for 2021, let alone the resumption of the current term, Hull do not have many senior players out of contract this year, which could be viewed as a positive or negative depending on how they emerge financially from the effects of lockdown.

Pearson added: “We will be expecting to go around with pretty much the same squad next year.

“Obviously, if we retain our season ticket-holders going into next year and the financial crisis about to envelope the country doesn’t mean we lose a lot of them, we may be able to look at adding one or two in January or February as the season will probably start later next year.

“But we will really have to look at our financial position come the new year to decide whether we want to bring anybody in from overseas or just one or two to supplement faces to this squad.

“We’re very confident we have a competitive squad.”

Hull’s excellent squad-strengthening ahead of this season was one of the reasons why the poor start under Radford was particularly galling.

That said, it also offers encouragement to Last and Purtill that they have the tools available to turn things around when the campaign does resume.

The main job will be maximising their strengths and working out a way of getting those talented players firing again at levels everyone knows they can operate.

Purtill, 43, was initially appointed as an assistant coach with focus on attacking structures plus taking the lead role with FC’s Emerging Talent Squad and coaching the reserve side.

However, the reserves competition has been disbanded for 2020, freeing him up to concentrate his efforts on working with Last to make sure Hull can deliver on their undoubted promise.

If they do, they could be Pearson’s long-term answer.

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