PATIENCE proved critical in Hull’s 38-0 win at Widnes Vikings, according to their Kiwi half-back Carlos Tuimavave.
With a scoreline like that, Thursday’s game would seem to many like simple work for the Super League leaders.
However, that would undermine some of the graft and effort that went into their defensive work early on to deny opponents who had ample opportunities to make a decisive breakthrough.
That they did not, said plenty about Hull’s resolve as Lee Radford’s side made a clear statement – this was the first time the treble-chasers kept a team pointless all year – following the previous week’s tepid Super 8s opening defeat at home to Castleford Tigers.
Tuimavave, whose steady hand helped secure victory in the absence of main playmaker Marc Sneyd, told The Yorkshire Post: “We got in the grind with Widnes for the first 15 or 20 minutes and didn’t get down there end too often at all.
“But we didn’t get frustrated, didn’t rush things and just stayed patient.
“Our defence held up and then we started to take our chances.
“The boys responded well after that loss against Castleford when we’d been flat after coming off the Challenge Cup semi-final win over Wigan.
“It was important we bounced back and we did. Radders asked for more energy from us and he got that.
“We trained well in the week and it showed on the field.
“It was very important to do that.
“It wasn’t ideal starting the Super 8s campaign off like we did and we had to get back into some rhythm in readiness for Wembley.
“Hopefully we can keep the ball rolling now for then and on afterwards as well.”
Hull have one more league game – at home to Catalans Dragons on Thursday – before the Wembley date with Warrington Wolves in a fortnight’s time.
Competition for places is heating up especially after 20-year-old Jordan Abdull filled in so admirably for Sneyd, contributing a try, having a vital hand in two more scores and kicking five goals.
Granted, Radford publicly stated after Thursday’s game that Sneyd should be available for the Catalans game and, if fit, he and Tuimavave would be his starting halves at Wembley.
But the coach also revealed he believed, in his mind and barring injuries, there are three players now chasing one remaining bench spot.
Hull-born Abdull will hope he is one of those and, on the youngster’s mature display when replacing Sneyd, 24-year-old Tuimavave admitted: “They are very similar; both are left-footed kickers and very good kickers of the ball.
“Our communication was good out there and me and Abbs both helped each other out.
“We didn’t overplay at all and shared the workload out so it worked well.
“He’s a very talented kid. We have a lot of talent in the halves here – Leon Pryce missed out and he has a lot of experience – and with the performances the boys are putting in, Radders might have a hard job picking his team for Wembley.
“Everyone wants to play in the Challenge Cup final and everyone is putting their hand up.”
Tuimavave, who has started in 18 of his 19 appearances since joining from New Zealand Warriors over the winter, believes former Castleford Tigers star Sneyd will be ready for the main event despite rolling his ankle in training on Wednesday.
“I’m not too sure how it is but I do think they were just playing it safe,” he said.
“Sneydy’s a big part of our team and the coaches won’t want to risk especially with the games coming up. I’m sure he’ll be good.”
Catalans, meanwhile, have fallen away badly having looked like potential Grand Finalists earlier in the season.
They now look unlikely to make the top-four – Hull will secure their place with victory on Thursday – but Tuimavave insisted: “They’ve still got a chance and we’ll be expecting a hard game against them.
“Every time we’ve played them this year it’s been very physical. They’re big up front and we’re expecting a tough match.”