Huddersfield Giants v Hull FC: How Hull winger Adam Swift has hit form by becoming less self-critical

THERE was a time when Hull FC winger Adam Swift was obsessed with “pecking” his own head but a clear mind has now brought some of the best form of his career.

Hull FC's form winger Adam Swift touching down in the Betfred Super League contest at Leigh Centurions earlier this month. Picture: Bruce Rollinson/JPIMedia.

He heads into tonight’s game at struggling Huddersfield Giants having established himself as one of the first names on Brett Hodgson’s team-sheet.

There are many reasons for his improved displays, not least getting over the injuries and Covid that scuppered his maiden season at the club last year.

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However, Swift says he has also got greater clarity in his thought having stopped over-analysing his game so much.

“I was always one for pecking my head with too much stuff,” said the 28-year-old.

“We record our training sessions and obviously the games are recorded. When I was at St Helens we used OPTA and you could go on and check your stats - your carries, your play involvements and all that stuff.

“I was always one for over analysing, looking at errors and looking at too much video basically. I was just pecking my head.”

Swift explains how his former St Helens team-mate Jon Wilkin, the ex-England international and now BBC pundit, helped him see sense.

Former St Helens club-mate and current TV pundit Jon Wilkin has been instrumental in helping Hull FC's Adam Swift improve his form. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

“Jon Wilkin told me once that too much water can kill the plants,” he said.

“It’s a cheesy comment but true. I respect Wilko for that because I do look at that now.

“I get some stick for it but I believe it and live by that saying because I was definitely one of those players watering the plants too much!

“Now, if there’s something that needs addressing, my coach Brett Hodgson will come to me and say, ‘Have a look at this. I want you to do this’.

Hull FC head coach Brett Hodgson. Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire.

“That’s rather than me going to him and saying, ‘I need to do this and that. I need to change this’.

“I’m letting the coaches do their job while I do mine.”

With regards Hodgson, Swift - who has scored eight tries in his last eight games - also conceded he owes the Australian a lot since he replaced previous coach Lee Radford in 2021.

Swift said: “He gave me a good opportunity in the pre-season to show what I’m capable of doing.

“He’s given me the shot from day one and I can’t thank him enough for that.

“In rugby we speak a lot about trust: trust in players, trust in your inside shoulder and for Brett to show that he’s got trust in me to do the job for the team to the best of my ability, it’s good and something every player wants.”

With seven wins from his opening 11 league games and up to fourth, Hodgson has certainly fared better than Huddersfield’s new coach Ian Watson who has managed just three wins from 14 outings ahead of tonight’s game.

It is also Hull’s first match in almost a month after seeing their last three games called off due to Covid. Their last outing was a 17-10 win over Giants who are mired in a seven-game losing run but capable of better things, according to Swift.

He admitted: “They are in a bit of rut with injuries.

“But every team goes through that and they’re reliant now on their academy system to pull them out of that rut. They have some young halves in there. They threw some young ones in like Leon Pryce’s lad (Will) who is a good talent - a raw talent - who brings a lot of energy onto the field.

“Huddersfield are also renowned for being a strong team in their outside backs especially with Jerry (McGillvary).

“He came off the bench (in the 14-12 loss against Wigan) last Friday but there’s no doubt that he will start against us on Thursday.

“It will be a good game - and I think a close game; when you look at their last results, they have lost a few but they have been close.

“Coming into half-time they were beating us 10-0 last time so we won’t turn up with the wrong attitude. We’re looking forward to it and we’re going to look to do a number on these guys.”

Swift missed that last game against Huddersfield along with Danny Houghton and Jordan Lane but they all return tonight as do fit-again pair Carlos Tuimavave, and Josh Bowden.

Meanwhile, Giants are without James Gavet after Watson revealed the Samoa prop - due to leave at the end of the season when his contract expired - is heading home early.

He has been a regular since joining from Newcastle Knights at the end of 2019 but was not included in tonight’s reduced 19-man squad. Watson explained: “James is going to be going back home. That’s something he’s got to do. He feels it’s the right thing for him at this moment in time.

“He’s been brilliant. He’s been really up front with the club and honest about the situation so we’ve known about this situation.

“But he’s been a great pro’ in the meantime between the start of the season and him leaving. He’s been outstanding and putting his hand up every single week and playing to the best of his ability which is all we can ask for.”

Forward Owen Trout is back for Giants and hooker James Cunningham could also return while Australian stand-off Jack Cogger hopes to make his comeback from injury next week.