Brett Hodgson backing Hull FC youngsters to keep on learning with another debut considered

Harvey Barron of Hull FC after the final whistle
-Credit: (Image: News Images)


With twelve players currently sidelined by injury, Hull FC head coach Brett Hodgson is trying to take the positives out of the ongoing situation. Neither recent results or current league position look great, but in terms of blooding youth, the club are ticking some boxes.

Obviously they haven't had a choice, but giving debuts out to the likes of Matty Laidlaw, Charlie Severs, Harvey Barron and Davy Litten, not to mention Denive Balmforth and Ellis Longstaff, who many fans hope will be at the club next year, they have shown some signs for the future at least, in some cases being the best Hull players on the field.

That's the long term plan coming to life - with Hodgson hopeful these young players, some of which are still teenagers, can lead the club into the future. And whilst the rawness has been there to see at times, the head coach is pleased with what he's seen overall.

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"That is the one positive that we can take from this rollercoaster that we're going through, the fact the young players are getting blooded and they are getting the experience," Hodgson explained.

"The likes of Matty (Laidlaw) have done great. No-one in their right mind at the start of this season would have thought that he would contribute the way he has. There have been guys in the Reserves that have stood up and Michael Shenton deserves some credit for that as well.

"Harvey Barron has debuted, Davy Litten has too, and Will Gardiner is within a chance of debuting this week being in the squad. I think we have had thirteen people that have debuted for us this year. It's not very often that is the case and hopefully we'll be better for that next season."

Giving the experience out, there is a hope that the long-term gain will be seen in the years to come. Here in the right now, the injury crisis has crippled Hull's play-off challenge, but Hodgson admits his team can't just use that as an excuse.

There have been times where the side have collectively been poor, succumbing to sixty point defeats and opening up old wounds.

"I don't want to harp on and use that as an excuse and have people feel sorry for us," Hodgson continued. "There have been moments where we haven't been good enough too, I put my hand up there and I never step away from that, but these are all experiences that we have to be better for.

"We are where we are for a number of reasons, but I'm really proud of those boys that have come in and to even be in contention is something they should be proud of as well. I know their dream is to play for this great club and some of them have had the opportunity to do that this season.

"They're all great kids - they're working hard and they're humble. They are good people as well which is the most important thing. They are all learning as we go as we all are every single day. Through adversity comes challenges but also comes growth and that's what we're finding out about the group at the moment."

No-one will have felt those challenges more than Harvey Barron, who was targeted by the Wakefield attack last week. The winger was unlucky with some incidents, and there were areas on the other side where he kept turning up as well.

Hodgson recognised that, whilst also offering his thoughts on Davy Litten's positive Hull FC debut and a little bit about Will Gardiner, who is in the 21-man-squad for the Salford game and in contention to play.

"Harvey has got a big future at this club and the important thing for him to understand is sometimes this happens," Hodgson added. "Of course, he was gutted, but the players did get around him and as staff we supported him. Sometimes these experiences test you and he absolutely got tested at the weekend.

"Litten was excellent. He came in early with the HIA to Connor Wynne. He was busy, he looked a little under done in terms of his physicality but he's got a good knowledge of the game and his role and we're excited about his future. He contributed very well.

"Will has been excellent for the Reserves - he only came in halfway through the season from West Hull. He's a big boy and he's done a lot of work to put on some size. He carries the ball strong and he's good in defence. He's got a good engine as well. I think he's done a wonderful job to even be considered for the first team squad."