HULL FC captain Danny Houghton said referee Scott Mikalauskas should not come under fire for the chaotic scenes towards the end of their Ladbrokes Challenge Cup sixth round 38-20 win at Featherstone Rovers.
A total of six players were sin-binned and Hull winger Bureta Faraimo was also red-carded after the final hooter as Thursday’s tie boiled over with a series of ugly skirmishes.
The performance of referee Mikalauskas has faced scrutiny especially after he failed to brandish a card for a wild tackle from Featherstone’s Misi Taulapapa on Jamie Shaul before the action descended into farce.
Hull eventually finished the game with just nine men on the field after a late flurry of cards.
Houghton told The Yorkshire Post: “There’s obviously some decisions there but when the game’s like it was it’s pretty tough for the man in the middle when everyone is running in from left right and centre. It was probably what we were always going to get wasn’t it?
“We managed to do the job nice and early like we spoke about so we’re pretty chuffed with how we got out of the blocks and put the game to bed by half-time.
All I can speak about is us and we managed to get what we wanted – being in Sunday’s draw for the next round so we’re pretty happy with that.Danny Houghton
“All I can speak about is us and we managed to get what we wanted – being in Sunday’s draw for the next round so we’re pretty happy with that.”
Holders Hull were 30-10 ahead against their part-time Championship opponents at half-time so they do remain on course to be only the second side in the summer era to lift the trophy in three successive years.
Hooker Houghton admitted: “That weekend at Wembley is a special one. Luckily we’ve managed to have a couple of good years there so it’d be stupid for us not to be wanting to go back there and witness it all again.
“We’ll see what the draw brings us. Hopefully we’ll get a good one and find our way back to Wembley.”
First, though, they face a derby against Hull KR at Magic Weekend next Sunday with their squad decimated by injuries.
Josh Bowden, Carlos Tuimavave and Fetuli Talanoa were all helped off the field at Featherstone with knee or ankle problems while Faraimo is certain to receive a ban of some sort.
“We’ve got a few boys who went off and I’m not sure who will be fit to play,” admitted former Man of Steel Houghton, Hull already without a raft of injured first-team players.
“But if not, we’re pretty happy with the depth we’ve got in our team and the boys that will come in wll do a good job for us.
“We’ll see where we’re at on Monday.”