RAMPANT Fetuli Talanoa scored a hat-trick as Hull FC finally gained some rare Magic Weekend success tonight with a record-breaking win at the expense of fierce rivals Hull KR.
The Black and Whites have endured some miserable form in Super League’s annual On The Road bonanza especially against their derby foes.
Rovers had won five of the six Magic meetings between the sides - they will rightly argue that solitary defeat should have at least been a draw after the fiasco of Hull prop’s Chris Green’s offside ‘try’ in 2013 - while FC had prospered in just one other game since the concept began in 2007.
But, after jaunts to Cardiff, Edinburgh and Manchester, Newcastle brought new fortune for Lee Radford’s side as they delivered an emphatic victory that lifts them into the top eight if only temporarily until Castleford Tigers play Wakefield Trinity Wildcats.
It marked the most points they had ever scored against Rovers in Super League and equalled their biggest margin of victory, the 44-18 triumph in 2008.
Winger Talanoa, the club’s player of the year last season after joining from South Sydney, led the way with his treble.
The Tongan international, 27, was unplayable at times though he was aided well by superb efforts from scrum-half Marc Sneyd, captain Gareth Ellis and Kirk Yeaman, the centre who scored twice, the first of which being his 150th for the East Yorkshire club.
Hull KR were still in it trailing 22-12 at half-time but two tries early in the second period killed them off and, though handing a debut to veteran prop Tony Puletua on loan from Salford Red Devils, Chris Chester’s 10th-placed side desperately need injured forwards back soon or they could slide further out of the play-offs contention.
Things didn’t look good for Hull FC - or Jordan Rankin, in particular - when their Australian full-back passed into touch twice inside just the opening four minutes.
However, when Talanoa was more traditional and bundled Rovers scrum-half Maurice Blair into touch soon after, they scored the game’s first try.
Former Great Britain centre Yeaman rose above Kieran Dixon to take the first of many testing Sneyd kicks and reach his milestone; he had been on 149 since August last year.
Sneyd converted but their opponents struck straight back in the 10th minute as Kris Welham timed his pass to perfection and Josh Mantellato squeezed in at the corner.
The Italian international converted his own score but when Ken Sio dropped a poor Blair pass Hull were in again when Talanoa finished smartly.
Rovers should have responded when Terry Campese broke to send Welham clear, exchanging passes once more only for Welham to slip at the crucial moment.
Moments later, Ellis barged over at the other end for Sneyd to make it 16-6 as the game critically swung in the Black and Whites’ favour.
Dixon intercepted Yeaman’s pass to race 90m, Mantellato converting again, but the Robins conceded a soft try when Mark Minichiello, the second-row from Gold Coast Titans who has quietly been one of the signings of 2015, was too strong from close range and Sneyd extended the lead.
Hull knew if they could gain the first try of the second period it would be massive for their chances of success.
They duly did when Talanoa got his second after Rovers failed to deal with a Joe Westerman grubber and Rankin surged in in the restart set after Leon Pryce had created some magic of his own.
Dixon got his second try on 53 minutes with another breakaway effort, this time after Sio bustled through against the run of play, so when Mantellato completed his brace soon after to bring it back to 34-20 there may have been some concern among the Hull faithful.
However, Talanoa completed his hat-trick in the 63rd minute after Danny Houghton’s break and then Yeaman added his second, completing Hull’s perfect response to last week’s loss against champions St Helens and meaning they have now lost just twice in nine games ahead of Thursday’s trip to Widnes Vikings.
Hull FC: Rankin; Lineham, Sa, Yeaman, Talanoa; Pryce, Sneyd; Paea, Houghton, Watts, Ellis, Minichiello, Westerman. Substitutes: Palea’aesina, Green, Whiting, Abdul.
Hull KR: Cockayne; Dixon, Sio, Welham, Mantellato; Campese, Blair; Puletua, Boudebza, Green, Larroyer, Ollett, McCarthy. Substitutes: Greenwood, Donaldson, Cox, Esslemont.
Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham)