Yeaman is fighting fit and aiming 
to deliver for Hull FC

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It has been a season of frustration for Hull FC’s Kirk Yeaman but one he knows could still yet end covered in so much glory.

Along with Richard Horne and Richard Whiting, the England centre is the only survivor in the current Airlie Birds squad from the one that last reached a Grand Final six years ago.

That was the club’s maiden trip to Old Trafford for Super League’s showpiece event.

Ultimately, they lost out to 
St Helens but, given it came so soon after their 2005 Challenge Cup final triumph, many thought it would mark the start of a sustained period for Hull of dining at the elite’s top table.

Unfortunately, they have not reached a final since, something which deeply pains the East Riding club which has such an illustrious history in the game.

Tonight, though, they have the chance to move to within 80 minutes of Old Trafford once more.

Warrington Wolves are the opponents in a preliminary semi-final which hands the victors a place in the last four.

For Yeaman, who has been blighted by injury on three separate occasions this term, it is an opportunity to finally deliver.

“It has been a frustrating year for me,” he told the Yorkshire Post, the 2011 Super League Dream Team centre being restricted to just 17 games this time around.

“It just hasn’t got going. I’ve played a few weeks then missed a few when normally I’m pretty all right with stuff like that.

“But I’m fit now, have played the last two and am hoping for a big bang at the end.

“We don’t see why we can’t go to Warrington and win.

“We’re not getting ahead of ourselves and know they’ve only lost one game at home this year so we know how tough it’s going to be.

“But we’re full of confidence especially after the last three weeks.”

That period has seen Hull deliver their best-ever Super League win – 70-6 against Bradford Bulls – before beating Castleford Tigers 30-10 and, then, producing a suitably emphatic 46-10 elimination play-off defeat of Huddersfield.

It is the first time since early April they have put together such a run and belief is rightly high.

Peter Gentle is the fifth coach Yeaman – who is about to embark on his testimonial year – has played under since making his Hull debut in 2002.

The Australian has certainly made an impact in his first season and the 29-year-old said: “He’s brought a lot of fresh ideas and made changes.

“It’s always hard when a new coach comes in, getting used to things, but Pete wants us to play a certain way. The last couple of weeks has shown how Pete wants us to do that and if we can carry that on it’s going to be good here.

“We’ll take Warrington as just another game. Obviously there’s a lot at stake but we won’t approach it any different to how we did Huddersfield.

“It was a good win on Sunday but there’s still areas we’re not happy with. Our defence was pretty spot-on for the first 65 minutes but in the last 15 they scored twice.

“We know Warrington will be favourites but we’re not too bothered what other people think.

“We know what we’re capable of and we’re quietly confident we can go there, get the result and progress.”

It seems an eternity ago now when Hull drew 20-20 with the Cheshire club at KC Stadium on the opening day of this season.

Yeaman scored the first of the 11 tries he’s notched this year and they really should have won, fortunate Warrington forcing the draw right at the death.

“I remember it being absolutely freezing and it started to snow,” he recalled.

“It was a good performance that day and our goalline defence was outstanding especially.

“It was disappointing to only get a draw while a couple of months back they did a number on us 
(40-18) at their place.

“That’s gone now though and in the past.

“People are talking about how many tries and points we’re scoring but that’s on the back of how good our defence has been.

“We’re scrambling and working hard for each other and if want to progress we have to do that again at Warrington.”

Yeaman played in all of England’s Four Nations campaign last autumn, including the final against Australia, but is currently out of the elite training squad due to his rotten luck with injuries.

If he can help fire Hull to Old Trafford, it might not only help get his club fulfilling their potential at last but also force him back into the reckoning ahead of a World Cup year.