AS SOBERING as Friday’s 40-12 defeat against St Helens was, Hull FC prop Josh Bowden firmly believes his side can challenge the Super League leaders come the business end of the season.
It was the second time the East Yorkshire club had been dismissed with ease by Justin Holbrook’s prolific front-runners having also lost 62-16 in Merseyside on Easter Monday.
Although they are 14 points behind Saints, Hull remain third ahead of Thursday’s visit from bottom-placed London Broncos and Bowden feels they could still make an impact in the play-offs.
He said: “It was really frustrating.
“I don’t really know what to say if I’m honest.
“We just didn’t really turn up today and you can’t give a quality team like Saints all that ball and possession.
“We made far too many errors throughout the game. They capitalised on that and smashed right through. But I definitely think we can (challenge them). The scoreline suggests we’re quite far off it but in the game I felt we had our opportunities especially when in that last 20 minutes you could see them tiring in the middle,.
“As long as we keep working hard, I think we’ll be all right.”
Hull coach Lee Radford bemoaned his side’s playmakers who showed a lack of composure when taking the wrong options in the first half in particular.
FC went into the break 18-0 down – that soon became 40-0 in the second period – but had wasted plenty of quality chances.
“When we needed to kick into touch and get our breath back and get some sets under our belt, we had players trying to score tries,” added Bowden.
“And obviously that’s not the best for us when the middles have been rolled for so long.
“I don’t know what to say. It’s one of those where we have to come together and just be a bit better; complete our sets as you just can’t give Saints them all that ball and expect to win.”
London are back on bottom after Saturday’s 36-6 home loss to Warrington but level with Hull KR and just two points behind Huddersfield and Leeds Rhinos.
Bowden, 27, said: “They’re an 80 minute team; they don’t go away. There’s no way we’re seeing it as an easy game and it’s a must-win really to keep us up there in the play-offs.”