Hull FC v Wakefield Trinity – Promising Ben McNamara developing at ideal pace with Airlie Birds

PROMISING Hull FC stand-off Ben McNamara says his current run in the side has come at the perfect time for his career development.

DEVELOPING: Hull FC's Ben McNamara. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

The teenager, 19, starts his third successive game tonight when the Black and Whites host Wakefield Trinity bidding to maintain their unbeaten start to the season.

He has been given his chance by new head coach Brett Hodgson after star Australian recruit Josh Reynolds was injured in only the second fixture of the campaign.

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McNamara said: “I’m enjoying it a lot. It’s probably just what I needed at this point in my career – to get some games in at the highest level.

MAIN MAN: Hull FC head coach, Brett Hodgson. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

“And obviously, not being able to play week in week out, it’s good to get an extended run of games in the first team and build some combinations.”

With Lance Todd Trophy winner Marc Sneyd alongside him, former Man of Steel Danny Houghton at hooker and England international Jake Connor at full-back, McNamara has plenty of experience around him.

However, the son of Catalans Dragons coach Steve McNamara has been praised for his mature displays and admitted: “I’ve found it surprisingly all right.

“I’ve been quite happy with how I’ve settled into it physically.

FATHER FIGURE: Steve McNamara. Picture by Laurent SELLES/Catalans Dragons/via SWpix.com

“I may have had some doubts going into it when I first debuted last year but I’m confident in those areas now and my ability to perform at that level.

“Last weekend (14-14 Golden Point draw with Warrington Wolves) was a good example; it was good to play in such a high level game.

“It almost felt like a semi-final with it being low-scoring and physical. Every game I’ve gained a bit more confidence.”

Former New South Wales State of Origin half Reynolds is out for around six weeks but has offered plenty of support to the academy product who made his debut in the win at Castleford Tigers last October.

“We worked a lot together during the pre-season and Josh hit the ground running with the group when he came in,” said McNamara, who hopes to help hometown Hull return to winning ways after Sunday’s 14-14 draw with Warrington Wolves.

“He’s helped me a lot and just watching him training has been good for me.

“He’s always encouraging me in training whilst he’s been out and it’s good to know he’s supportive of me.”

Hull have enjoyed a wonderful start to the season and McNamara is blessed with some quality three-quarters outside of him such as full-back Jake Connor and centres Josh Griffin and Carlos Tuimavave.

“I really enjoy that,” he added. “When you go out on the field knowing the ability we have to go forward; we’ve got a great pack and some really strong outside backs who can really carry the ball well, and then the likes of Jake and Sneydy who are always threats.

“It takes a lot of pressure off myself. I can just play my own game. We have a lot of talent here and it’s not something I’ve experienced before, having quite so many good players around.”

His dad, the former England coach who used to play for Hull and tonight’s opponents Wakefield, is also on hand if he needs any further advice although that is more difficult currently due to the pandemic.

“With Covid at the moment, I am not able to see him too much,” said McNamara, with his father based in Perpignan. “But we’ve seen each other at a few games and been able to spend a few minutes there which was good.

“He came back over Christmas and it was good to see him then. “It’s funny as Catalans seem to play the team we played the week before, so he’s ended up watching me in the videos and giving me a few tips. But not too many!

“I want him to do well and glad they’ve had a good start to the season as well.”
Wakefield are missing their own Australian stand-off tonight, Jacob Miller, the former Hull No6 who is absent due to a knee injury picked up in last Friday’s loss at St Helens.

Trinity are still searching for a first win and McNamara said: “We know they’ll be very desperate for one. They’ve not had the best start but we know how dangerous they are and they will be trying to turn us over.

“They have a lot of individual threats but we’ve done a real good job so far just focusing on ourselves, working on our processes and not thinking too much about the opposition. It’s just about us preparing as well as we can for every game.”

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