Hull FC v St Helens: Cup defeat gives Hull belief they can upset Saints

Jordan Abdull.
Jordan Abdull.
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HULL FC assistant coach Andy Last says his side will take positives from their classic Challenge Cup quarter-final defeat against St Helens when they face the Super League leaders again tonight.

Saints have lost just twice all season but the Black and Whites ran them close in a thrilling last-eight meeting at the start of last month before eventually losing 25-22 in Merseyside.

Hull are in need of an upset given their abject display in last week’s 29-18 loss at Huddersfield Giants, a defeat that saw them fall four points adrift of the top four.

But Last insisted: “We’re really looking forward to the challenge.

“As a team, I think over the time I’ve been here, we are better when we’re the underdogs and we’re certainly underdogs against St Helens on Friday.

“They are flying high at the top of the table, playing a great brand of rugby and have some guys in career-best form so we know it is a challenge.

“But we take confidence from that last time we played them. In that quarter we were a bounce of a ball, a referee decision away from going into the semis.

“We put St Helens into a position where they were uncomfortable. Yes, they managed to come up with the answers in that game.

“But we feel if we can put them in that position and keep in that mindset of building pressure and believing in the process we feel we have more than enough to get a result against them Friday.”

Their hopes of doing so will be boosted by the availability once more of Jordan Abdull, who has returned two weeks early from a broken leg and is set to play alongside Albert Kelly in the halves.

He had missed the last nine games and Last said: “Jordan is a player I have a lot of time for.

“He came through the (academy) system which obviously I was part of. He’s a footballer, game-manages well, has a really good kicking game and I think he’ll thrive on the extra responsibility he’ll get leading the team Friday.

“Jordan is a player who’s in the Marc Sneyd ilk; a thinker about the game who believes in managing a game, putting his shapes on and wearing teams down by building pressure.

“He’ll assume that role and that allows Alby to go be that creative maverick that he has been ever since he joined us.”