Hull FC v Leeds Rhinos: Marc Sneyd reaches landmark with plenty of fond memories

WHEN Hull FC’s Marc Sneyd is asked to consider what he believes to be the one performance where he truly hit the mark, and mastered this game called rugby league, there are some obvious contenders.

For starters, the decorated scrum-half – who celebrates his 250th career appearance against Leeds Rhinos on Thursday night – has twice won the Lance Todd Trophy as man of the match in a Challenge Cup final. Only four other players have won it twice in the award’s 75-year history.

Those displays, in helping Hull defeat Warrington Wolves in 2016 and Wigan Warriors 12 months later, are certainly iconic.

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There have been historic actions, too, not least when the playmaker became first to score a Golden Point extra-time winner in Super League’s regular rounds, with his ice-cool drop goal at Wigan in 2019.

SWEET MEMORIES: Marc Sneyd of Hull FC takes a selfie with the Hull FC crowd after winning the Challenge Cup fora second time in 2017. Picture by Richard Blaxall/SWpix.com

However, it is another fixture that piques the 30-year-old’s interest.

“One of the games that really stands out for me is not that long ago when we played Catalans away, also in 2019,” recalled the Oldham-born player. “After they scored to go ahead late on, we kicked off back to Catalans and we were two points down literally as the hooter went for full-time.

“But we managed to win a penalty off the kick-off (Catalans took possession before it went 10m), then kick the penalty from halfway to send us to Golden Point.

“We then kicked off for Golden Point and got it straight into touch to get the ball back and I slotted a one point over. It will always stand out for me that game as it was a proper back and forward match for the full 80 minutes.

MAGIC MOMENT: Marc Sneyd, right, celebrates winning the Challenge Cup at Wembley with Hull FC with coach Lee Radford, left and captain Gareth Ellis, defeating Warrington Wolves in 2016. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

“It probably won’t stand out for me for the full 80 minutes but for the last two minutes it did. It was a very hectic two minutes - and a very enjoyable one!”

Sneyd started out at Salford Red Devils when he made almost 50 appearances before Hull forked out £100,000 for him in 2015 after an impressive season-long loan at Castleford Tigers. His professional debut for Salford was memorable for more than one reason.

“I actually scored and it was against Hull KR weirdly enough,” explained Sneyd. “It was a pretty decent try, too. I kicked the ball, chased the kick and then did a one-on-one with the full-back who was Greg Eden at the time. It was a pretty good debut.”

Given he made such an instant impression, did the then teenager wonder what all the fuss about Super League was?

Marc Sneyd, in action for Castleford Tigers against York City Knights in January 2014. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

“Definitely not as making your debut at half-back is difficult,” added Sneyd. “You get spotted and I think I had to make about 20 plus tackles that game so it was a definite massive step-up physicality-wise from playing reserves.

“When you played reserves, you’d go up against one or two first-team players coming back from injury – that’s what the reserves were really good for – but when you played a full team of experienced players and getting spotted at 18 or 19 or whatever I was, it was a shock to the system. But I loved it.”

Just as he has loved his time with the Black and Whites where the prolific Sneyd, with his renowned left boot causing opponents so much damage, has become such a fans’ favourite. He is under contract until the end of next season at least and he is fast approaching 200 appearances for the East Yorkshire club.

Sneyd conceded: “I’d signed a three year contract initially and I probably didn’t expect it to go as well as it has. But I’ve absolutely loved every minute of being here despite people telling me it wasn’t going to be good as - unless you’re from Hull - peoples’ view of here is completely different.

Marc Sneyd gets a kick away for Salford against Castleford Tigers for Salford.

“I was told I was going into a horrible place – the people are horrible and everything else – but once I got here I really loved it and settled in with no issues or anything.

“There was no reason to leave and contract negotiations after that initial three years were pretty easy. There was no reason to look elsewhere. It helps when you’re so happy somewhere like I am at Hull.”

Of the 250 career appearances, those two at Wembley remain “special, so special” for the goalkicking No7.

“That first one was absolutely huge,” remembered Sneyd. “You could see what it meant to everyone at Hull, being the first time they’d ever won at Wembley. It meant so much to the fans.

“And for me personally it was massive as well as the last time I’d been to Wembley was with Castleford (in 2014 final loss against Leeds Rhinos) and I got hooked off after about 20 minutes. To go back to Wembley and put in a decent performance on that sort of stage was incredible.”