Paea is set to join Australian club Newcastle Knights next season and there is now a real danger his final games for Hull could be in a relegation dogfight. Hull’s midweek defeat at bottom club Wakefield Trinity Wildcats left them ninth in the table and possibly heading for the Qualifiers, involving Super League’s bottom four teams and the leading quartet from the Championship.
Wakefield are the opposition again in a rematch at KC Stadium tomorrow and Hull then face Castleford at home, Hull KR away and the visit of Wigan Warriors in their final game of the regular season.
Paea predicted Hull will need to win “at least three” of those matches to force their way into the Super-8s, a new seven-game competition leading to knockout semi-finals for a place in the title decider at Old Trafford.
“It would be disappointing to be in the middle-eights, especially when we are celebrating 150 years of the club, ” said Paea. “We have got a good squad and if everyone’s fit we are confident we can beat anyone. But it wasn’t good enough [on Wednesday]. It wasn’t the showing of a top-eight team.”
Results this week have heaped extra pressure on Hull, who began it in eighth place. Hull KR boosted their top-eight chances with a win over Salford Red Devils on Tuesday and Warrington Wolves did the same when they shocked third-placed Wigan two days later.
Hull led 16-0 at the end of the first quarter against Wakefield, who had not won since February, but collapsed to concede 26 unanswered points.
“We have made it tough for ourselves,” admitted Paea. “We are down, but we’re not out.
“We are not playing the same as we have been doing for the last two months.
“I don’t know if it is a confidence thing, but individually we have got to bring a better game.
“If we win this weekend and results go our way, we are back in it.”
Paea is available for tomorrow, but will discover next week if he is to face a disciplinary charge following a tackle on Wakefield’s Danny Washbrook, which was placed on report.
He said: “I don’t think there was too much in it, but obviously he was in a bit of pain. Due to my record they might give me another week, but I hope not. There was no malice or intent to hurt him.”