AFTER a master-class with Kangaroos ‘Immortal’ Andrew Johns, Hull FC scrum-half Marc Sneyd has every reason to feel ready to take on the world.
He will feature for the Airlie Birds today as they complete their tour of New South Wales against NRL club St George-Illawarra at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium.
Me and Alby were chuffed to bits. Obviously getting a few little pointers off Andrew Johns was an opportunity I was never going to turn down.Marc Sneyd
Playing in such a fixture is unusual enough for the back-to-back Lance Todd Trophy winner but he has also enjoyed some special preparation in the build-up to the International Double Header that also includes South Sydney v Wigan Warriors.
Former New South Wales State of Origin No7 Johns, rated by many as the game’s greatest-ever player, took Hull’s half-backs under his wing during a training session at Sydney Roosters earlier this week.
The 43-year-old delivers coaching clinics to NRL clubs on a freelance basis and he was at the Roosters when Lee Radford’s squad visited for a ‘scrimmage’ session so passed on some of his vast football knowledge to Sneyd and Albert Kelly.
“I didn’t even know it was going to happen,” Sneyd revealed to The Yorkshire Post.
“We were supposed to be wrestling at that point, too, so it made it even better as we didn’t have to do that!
“Me and Alby were chuffed to bits. Obviously getting a few little pointers off Andrew Johns was an opportunity I was never going to turn down.
“It was good. Really good.”
In terms of what insight the two-time Golden Boot winner offered, ex-Castleford Tigers half-back Sneyd said: “There was a few little things that you would never really think of and probably wouldn’t ever do in a normal training session.
“It was things that could potentially work out. It might even happen only once every six games the things he was talking about.
“But if you did it that once things could potentially happen for you. It was really good listening to him.
“I never watched NRL growing up but – with him being as good as he was – you obviously knew all about Andrew Johns.
“So when Rads gave us a shout at the end of training and said we could go do it, it was obviously a great thing.”
Moreover, earlier in the session, Sneyd faced current Kangaroos No 7 Cooper Cronk who has made the move to Roosters in 2018 after an entire career with Melbourne.
Asked how Hull fared in the match-up against the likes of stars such as Boyd Cordner and James Tedesco, he added: “We killed them!
“I think we scored a few tries and defended well so all in all the session was quite successful.
“Hopefully we replicate that against St George.
“Seeing how he (Cronk) goes about his business, though, you can see why he’s one of the best halves going.”
Sneyd comes up against England stand-off Gareth Widdop today and he continued: “They’ve obviously brought in Ben Hunt as well so they have two world-class half-backs there.
“It will be a good challenge but as a whole playing against an NRL team for the first time will be a good challenge in itself and that’s what I’m looking forward to most.”
Hull trained in the stadium yesterday as they made their final preparations for the game, looking to bounce back after last week’s 24-10 defeat against Wigan Warriors in Wollongong.
FC football manager Gareth Ellis believes the tour has been an invaluable experience for the East Yorkshire club.
“We were here for the two points,” he said.
“We didn’t get that but there are things that we have picked up that we just wouldn’t have got if we’d have stayed at home slugging it out in the mud at County Road (Hull’s training ground).
“Out half-backs being able to listen to Andrew Johns, for one.”
Dave Craven is on tour with Hull FC in Australia in association with Ladbrokes.com