Hull FC v Wakefield Trinity: Derby win puts spring in Airlie Birds’ step

Hull's Fetuli Talanoa celebrates his first try.
Hull's Fetuli Talanoa celebrates his first try.
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HE MAY be Super League’s new joint-leading try-scorer but Hull FC’s Fetuli Talanoa insists he never even keeps tabs on how many times he crosses the line.

For the record, the Aucklander goes into this afternoon’s game against Wakefield Trinity with nine in just eight games so far, having bagged a brace in the gutsy 30-22 Good Friday win at Hull KR.

Fetuli Talanoa scoes his second try against KR.

Fetuli Talanoa scoes his second try against KR.

The former South Sydney star showed his quality with a trademark tight finish close to the touchline and then a simple walk-in as resilient Hull overcame the early dismissal of Bureta Faraimo to claim the derby spoils.

“I genuinely don’t know how many tries I’ve scored so far this season,” said Talanoa, who is now level with St Helens’ Australian full-back Ben Barba in the competition’s list.

“But I’m happy to keep getting over. As a winger sometimes you only have inches to work with, but that’s why we do what we do in training.

“Come game time it’s about trying to execute that and when you have those inches, finding a way to get over the line which thankfully I was able to do in the derby.

To do it with 12 men (for 71 minutes) has given us a lot of confidence that we can really use this to build some momentum to take into Wakefield.

Hull FC’s Fetuli Talanoa

“The main goal is always to just get the two points, but I’m happy I’m doing my bit.”

Talanoa’s game is aided so much by his centre, fellow Kiwi Carlos Tuimavave who was sensational against Rovers but is rested for this afternoon’s match.

He said: “When you’re a winger you always want to be playing alongside a good centre and I’ve someone in Carlos who has great strike power. We have a game plan that we go out there to execute and for me as a winger it’s great to play on the back of what he does. He did so well with the ball in the derby and was too much for them to handle.”

It rekindled memories of Hull’s 2016 Good Friday win when they recovered from 20-0 down to win 22-20.

Lee Radford’s side now aim for a third successive victory which will breathe life into what before had been a stuttering campaign.

Talanoa, 30, added: “It was a tough win and to do it with 12 men (for 71 minutes) has given us a lot of confidence that we can really use this to build some momentum to take into Wakefield.

“It’s going to be a tough ask because the Monday game is always hard, but when you get a win like that – like two years ago – it can really kick-start your season and help build momentum.

“It makes it easier as well pulling up Monday when you’re doing it after a win; you don’t feel as sore and tired as you would if you were going in after a derby defeat.

“We went straight into recovery after Friday and as soon as the match finished it was all about Monday and beating Wakefield.”

That is something they have done with reliability of late, winning their last seven meetings against the West Yorkshire side.

Trinity, meanwhile, have seen their best top-flight start since 1945 – four successive wins –since overshadowed by three defeats on the bounce including last Thursday’s 11-6 home loss against Castleford Tigers. Wakefield hooker Kyle Wood admitted: “Monday becomes really important now. We probably have to get that win to get our season going again. We had a good start but we need to pick it back up now. Hull have been up and down but are still a very good team. They won the Challenge Cup again last year and their derby on Good Friday.

“We know we’ll be facing a big challenge especially over there. We have to recover well and have that mindset we had against Cas – we gave it our all but just gave penalties away at the wrong time.

“We gave them piggy-backs up the field and just couldn’t find that last pass at the other end.”

Hull are set to give a debut to French full-back Hakim Miloudi, Jack Logan and Jansin Turgut come in in place of Jamie Shaul, Tuimavave and Jordan Lane.

Faramio has been handed a one-game penalty notice but is still available today as the disciplinary panel does not sit until Wednesday.

Wakefield ring the changes, with Max Jowitt, Jordan Crowther, James Batchelor and Chris Annakin all poised to make their first appearances of the season. Joe Arundel, Jordan Baldwinson, Mason Caton-Brown and Ryan Hampshire are recalled.

Scott Grix, Ben Jones-Bishop, Liam Finn, Anthony England, Justin Horo and David Fifita are the ones to drop out of the 19.