Hull FC's Mark Minichiello struggling to understand how his career could be over sooner than expected

Hull FC's Mark Minichiello, left, looks to close down Castleford Tigers' James Clare (PIC: JONATHAN GAWTHORPE)
Hull FC's Mark Minichiello, left, looks to close down Castleford Tigers' James Clare (PIC: JONATHAN GAWTHORPE)
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IRRITATED Mark Minichiello is mystified by how Hull FC have “tossed up” recent performances and admits the chances of a fairy tale finish to his career are now all but gone.

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The Australian second-row, 37, retires at the end of the season and that is now fast looming into sight following Thursday’s debacle at Castleford Tigers.

For a third game in a row, Hull knew a win would secure their play-offs spot but for the third successive match they lost.

After Castleford romped to a 44-12 triumph, they have instead edged their Yorkshire rivals out of the crucial fifth spot.

Hull must now hope Tigers lose their final regular game at Wigan on Friday while FC must also beat leaders St Helens at the same time to recover the situation.

Ex-Italy captain Minichiello said: “Everything on the line and that’s what we toss-up...

“Over the last month I don’t know how many chances you can get and how many chances can you be given to make the five?

“We haven’t taken any of them and that’s the most disappointing thing.

“Personally it’s hard to describe. A month ago we were second and needed one or two games to secure our spot. We couldn’t do it.

“We’d love a fairy tale finish but ultimately that’s probably not going to happen.”

It is no way for such a well-respected player to bow out and Minichiello - will helped Hull win two Challenge Cups finals after arriving from Gold Coast Titans in 2015 - hopes to at least finish with a win.

“You want to make sure that if it is our last game that we finish with a better performance than that against the best team in the competition and the most consistent side," he added.

"We have turn up with more intent and more want than what we did tonight.

“It’s going to be difficult (to qualify). Ultimately we need to win and rely on other results. If we want to give ourselves any chance we have to win and just hope results go our way.

“It’s going to be hard to get up but it’s potentially the last game of the year - and the last game of my career - so I guess if you can’t get up for it then you’re playing the wrong game.”

Meanwhile, Minichiello exchanged heated words with team-mate Jake Connor after the England centre was sin-binned for dissent late on at Castleford.

He would not delve into what was said but asked what advice he would give the gifted player, whose temperament has come under fire again, the ex-Sydney Rooster said: "He’s got to be more consistent.

"I don’t really want to say too much.

"He’s a very talented kid...but there’s lots of areas that he can work on to be a better player.”