Salford Red Devils 4 Hull FC 35 - New coach Brett Hodgson’s ideas are being embraced says Josh Griffin

CONCEDING just 14 points in their two opening games makes it clear where Hull FC have improved this season and centre Josh Griffin believes it is testimony to how the squad has “bought into” new coach Brett Hodgson’s philosophies.

Top form: Hull FC's Josh Griffin scores their fourth try. Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com

Although Saturday’s 35-4 success over Salford Red Devils clearly illustrated the East Yorkshire club’s attacking quality once more, with Josh Reynolds (2), Andre Savelio, Cameron Scott and Griffin all scoring tries, it is their continued work at the other end which is most impressive.

Befuddled Salford, boasting creative players of Kevin Brown, Tui Lolohea and Kallum Watkins’ ilk, were limited to just a solitary try from former Hull KR winger Ken Sio but that did not arrive until almost the hour mark.

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Crucially, neither did that slip trigger any sort of a collapse from the Black and Whites, something which had become all too common in recent years.

For Hodgson, who arrived from NRL’s Wests Tigers to try and turn Hull into a side consistent enough to challenge for a first league title since 1983, the continued resilience was encouraging.

Speaking to The Yorkshire Post, Griffin certainly echoed those sentiments and said: “We’ve worked hard pre-season. It’s good to see what we’ve worked on coming to fruition like this.

“Defence has been our main focus over the last couple of months and what we’ve been doing on the training field is now showing on the pitch. If you look at sides like St Helens and Wigan they are ruthless in defence.

“That’s what Brett’s brought coming from working with good coaches over there like (Michael) Maguire and (Ivan) Cleary.

Easy does it: Hull FC's Cameron Scott scores their fifth try. Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com

“He’s obviously learned a lot and put his own spin on things, too, and the boys have obviously bought into it.”

Griffin, the 30 year-old centre who will surely be named in Shaun Wane’s England squad tomorrow, continued his own excellent form, proving too powerful too often for Salford.

He reported afterwards he was still suffering the effects of a bout of food poisoning that had also hindered him in the opening day win over Huddersfield Giants.

Yet if this was Griffin playing a little under the weather – he was the game’s top metre-maker with 217m – it is frightening to think how destructive he will be when 100 per cent fit.

Wrapped up: Hull FC's Andre Savelio in action with Salford Red Devils' Lee Mossop, Harvey Livett and Elliot Kear. Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com

On the subject of England, it is impossible not to mention Jake Connor. He was imperious on Saturday, revelling in his new position of full-back once more, producing a sublime pass to create Savelio’s opener and then effortlessly breaking through himself to set up Reynolds for his first.

Connor, a regular for England and Great Britain under Wayne Bennett, often at centre, has so far been overlooked by Wane.

But he oozed class against Salford and also showed his maturity to take control and drop a goal when both half-backs – Reynolds and Marc Sneyd – departed in the second half with knocks.

Griffin, who joined Hull at the same time as the maverick in 2017, said: “No one has ever under-estimated Jake’s skill.

“He’s a quality player. He’s probably grown up a bit these last few months and last season with his kid being born and I think not making the England squad last year hurt him a bit, too.

“The full-back roles has also given him that free reign a little bit. He doesn’t have to worry about organising teams and he can just concentrate on what he’s good at. And that’s creating opportunities for people.

“There’s great full-backs around. (Sam) Tomkins killed it again today (for Catalans Dragons). Niall Evalds is going well, Zak Hardaker is going great and Jake’s obviously up there.”

For winless Salford, Ryan Lannon will be worried about potential further action after a cheap, late shot on Sneyd saw him yellow-carded.

Hull, though, have real balance and were brilliantly served by the likes of Joe Cator, Jordan Lane and Danny Houghton up front.

They head to Featherstone Rovers in the Challenge Cup on Saturday, a competition they have won twice in the last five years – but it is their Super League quest that remains intriguing.

Salford Red Devils: Sarginson; Sio, Watkins, Kear, Williams; Lolohea, Brown; Mossop, Ackers, Ikahihifo, Livett, Lannon, Taylor. Substitutes: Johnson, Wells, Ormondroyd, Patton.

Hull FC: Connor; Fonua, Tuimavave, Griffin, Swift; Reynolds, Sneyd; Sao, Houghton, Satae, Savelio, Ma’u, Lane. Substitutes: Cator, Fash, Scott, Taylor.

Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield)

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