Hull FC coach Lee Radford insists he is on the “same page” as disgruntled chairman Adam Pearson as the club plot to emerge from their worrying slump.
They host Castleford Tigers tomorrow having lost a record seven successive Super League games.
The pitiful 80-10 defeat at Warrington Wolves last Friday was a new low and one which left fuming Pearson threatening to move under-performing players on ahead of 2019.
Asked if he was in agreement, Radford said today: “He’s the owner and he pays everyone’s salary. I’m pretty sure that when he wants to vent his frustration then he can do.
“We’re all on the same page. We understand where we’re at. We all know where we’re going and what needs changing. He’s very supportive.”
Radford believes his chairman made his feelings known publicly in order to produce a reaction from the under-performing players, who also suffered an embarrassing 72-10 defeat at Wakefield Trinity last month.
“It was to prod; that’s the first time he’s done that this season,” said the coach, who guided Hull to back-to-back Challenge Cup successess in 2016 and 2017 but saw their top-four hopes nosedive this time around, admittedly on the back of some major injury issues.
“Up until the Wakefield game at Wakefield, we’ve been in every game and not thrown the towel in once. We competed as hard as we could.
“We’ve just got to hope the candle has not completely burnt out in these next four games. We just need a flint from somewhere and spark it up again.”
Pearson does now want to make new signings for 2019 but that may prove difficult given the club has already got their main squad under contract for next term.
“He’ll be looking to add to the squad to stop the drop off being so significant when we’ve got injuries,” said Radford. “Doing that in a salary cap sport is difficult.
“He’s putting a lot of pressure on our CEO. I’ve been counselling him all week!”
Radford says Hull - who trained against the RAF this morning - are down to their last 17 fit players for Friday night’s visit from Castleford but he still expects a response after last week’s humiliation.
“There’s been a lot of putting people back together, so to speak,” he said. “There’s a lot of people looking at their feet at the moment. It’s a unique situation we’re in. But we’re in this situation so we’ve got to use it to our advantage.
We’ve just got to hope the candle has not completely burnt out in these next four games. We just need a flint from somewhere and spark it up again.Hull FC head coach, Lee Radford
“Could some of the things been foreseen and done differently? Possibly but unfortunately you can’t influence that now. We’ve got nine blokes not playing tomorrow who’d be in my starting 13. Sorry, eight. Greeny would probably be on the bench. But it is what it is.”
Asked if it had felt like a long week, the 39-year-old added: “It’s felt like a long season. I knew six or seven weeks ago what was coming. But it’s been like a slow death. You knew the injuries would eventually catch up with us.
“Look, 83 per cent of our salary cap is in our top 17. Rightly or wrongly. That’s the risk you take with a salary cap sport.
“It’s worked really well for us previously because we’ve had them fit but clearly what you can see there’s a significant drop off when they’re not available for selection.
“We’ve got to get these young players up to speed next year so if they are relied upon for four or five games. We’re now into 10 or 11 games where we’ve had to use these lads. We have to make sure they’re better prepared if it happens again.
“But it’s difficult. Some of them are bairns. Literally kids. That’s difficult when there’s no set structure under Super League. There’s no platform for them to perform on and come into the first team.”
With that in mind, Hull will go back to fielding a Reserve Grade side next term?
“Ours will, definitely,” said Radford. “I don’t about others but we’ll play ourselves if we have to. It’s got to happen.”