Hull KR v Hull FC: Brett Hodgson braced for unparalleled hostility at Craven Park

Hull FC head coach Brett Hodgson admits even he could be taken aback by the hostility of the Craven Park crowd this afternoon.

A veteran of major finals on both sides of the world as well as State of Origin battles during his playing days, Hodgson is no stranger to intense atmospheres.

But the 44-year-old is expecting the raw passion of a first derby in Hull KR's backyard since 2019 to trump those experiences.

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"We can talk about it and understand that it is going to be like that but until you get in that arena, I think it'll surprise a couple of the players and might even surprise myself," he said.

Hull FC claimed the bragging rights in the only derby of 2021. (Picture: FC claimed the bragging rights in the only derby of 2021. (Picture:
Hull FC claimed the bragging rights in the only derby of 2021. (Picture:

“I know it’s going to be hostile, I know it’s going to be loud and I know it’s going to be fully packed out, but we're looking forward to that."

For the second week running, Rovers will play in front of a capacity crowd at Craven Park.

Hodgson believes Hull can use the expectancy of the home supporters to their advantage.

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"It’s exciting and with that comes a little bit of pressure for them," he added.

Brett Hodgson is set for his first away Hull derby. (Picture: Hodgson is set for his first away Hull derby. (Picture:
Brett Hodgson is set for his first away Hull derby. (Picture:

"We don’t have that crowd pressure for this game so we need to use the atmosphere and the intensity of the occasion to rise and make sure that we’re at the level that is going to give us a good performance.

"It is relevant that we’re away from home but it doesn’t dictate whether you win or lose.

"I think we have to make sure that we’re using the emotion. There’s going to be a hatred in the crowd, we know that, and they’re going to be saying and chanting all sorts of things towards our players and staff.

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“It’s a matter of making sure we’re playing the 80 minutes to the level we want to and if we do that, regardless of where we play, we’ll be in the game.”

In the build-up to derbies, coaches often talk about playing the game and not the occasion.

But Hodgson has encouraged his players to use the rivalry as fuel, although that comes with a proviso.

"You need the occasion to get you to a level you need to be because it's not just about the game," he said.

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"I fully understand that. It's nothing like I've experienced before.

"Being in the city for 16 months, I understand what it means to our supporters and I understand what's at stake. Everyone wants to win this derby and we're no different.

"But we have to make sure the occasion doesn't overrun our emotions."

Hull won the only derby clash between the teams in 2021 thanks to Marc Sneyd's drop goal.

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Hodgson has challenged his side to turn up with the same never-say-die spirit this afternoon.

"This game is absolutely about effort," he said. "It's about making sure you're on mentally as much as physically for 80 minutes.

"These games are often won in the dying stages with a loose ball on the ground or a field goal.

"We need to make sure we're good for a solid 80 minutes against a team that are playing well."

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