Hull FC coach Brett Hodgson says squad will show greater efforts under his command

A NOTICEABLE change in “effort” is what Hull FC head coach Brett Hodgson hopes to see when he takes charge of the side for the first time tomorrow night.

The Black and Whites step up their preparations for the new campaign with a friendly at York City Knights which doubles up as the Championship club’s maiden appearance at their new LNER Community Stadium.

Australian Hodgson took over at Hull in November after leaving his assistant role with Wests Tigers in the NRL.

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After a long pre-season working with his charges, there will be alterations to the way Hull play, particularly in defence.

But the 43-year-old insisted: “It’s not so much the style changes, it’s the effort.

“That’s what we’ve driven in pre-season - effort on effort - and making sure that we value those things the supporters don’t necessarily see.

“We’ve done a lot of work in terms of our fitness levels to make sure that we are relying on each other to do that and that’s something as coaches we’re driving.

“I’m also really happy with what the boys have done in terms of training; I’m looking forward to seeing them go out and show they have actually learnt the new system defensively and see how we actually compete in a competition game.”

Hull FC head coach Brett Hodgson (Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com)

Moreover, it is the former Huddersfield Giants and New South Wales State of Origin full-back’s first game as a head coach after previous spells working as an assistant at Widnes Vikings and in Sydney.

The transition can be a difficult one, especially in terms of demands.

But Hodgson, who won the Man of Steel and Lance Todd Trophy during his playing days in Super League, insisted: “It’s been good. I’ve really enjoyed it.

“But what we’ve got here is a great staff around me; as a head coach, you don’t do everything yourself.

“You rely on the people around you and (assistants) Kieron Purtill and Gaz Ellis have done a wonderful job as well as Paul Hatton and the S&C staff.

“We feel that the players are in a really good position after nine weeks of pre-season so we give ourselves a chance of competing early in the season.

“So now it’s just a matter of looking forward to making it to that round one game and obviously playing against a pretty high quality Championship side in York at a great venue.”

Hodgson hopes to field his strongest available side with big NRL signing Josh Reynolds set to debut and trialist Fijian winger Mitieli Vulikijapani also ready to show his potential as well as Cameron Scott, who played on loan at York two years ago.

Forwards Scott Taylor, Masi Matongo and Jordan Johnstone will not feature due to minor injuries but all should be fit for the club’s Super League opener against Huddersfield Giants in a little over a fortnight’s time.

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