Brett Hodgson praises Hull FC youngsters for contributions and urges them to take Derby chance

-Credit: (Image: News Images)
-Credit: (Image: News Images)

Hull FC head coach Brett Hodgson was full of praise for his young players after getting through a tough situation in the 38-12 win over Toulouse Olympique on Sunday afternoon. The victory was achieved with 16 players missing as 13 of the side backed up from Salford the previous Thursday night in the double header weekend.

The Black and Whites just got on with it, fielding the likes of Harvey Barron, Davy Litten, Denive Balmforth, Matty Laidlaw and Will Gardiner, with Cam Scott also returning from injury and Ellis Longstaff continuing his strong loan spell at the club.

With Chris Satae an unused sub, it was youth that got their chance with big minutes coming for all five homegrown players, with middle duo Laidlaw and Gardiner in particular having big stints with the latter scoring a try in his first home appearance. That experience is vital for Hodgson, who praised all five contributions ahead of the Hull Derby this Saturday afternoon.

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"I was impressed with all of them (the young boys) in their own little way," Hodgson explained in his pre-match press conference. "They're going to face a big challenge now. The Derby is always a massive game and their preparation needs to be good for that.

"I think we've found that there have been some ups and downs that they've all completed, but for Harvey (Barron) that was a great response to bounce back the way he did. Davy Litten has been pretty consistent to be fair - but there are a couple of elements that he would like to improve.

"It was good to see Denive (Balmforth) get some game time. I thought it was his most solid performance for us. It probably didn't have some of the highlights of others but in terms of a solid game, I thought he was good.

"I'm really happy with how Will Gardiner has gone in the last couple of weeks from where he's come from and Matty Laidlaw looked like he was better from not playing the game before. They are all contributing pretty nicely."

Will Gardiner goes over for his first Hull FC try.
Will Gardiner goes over for his first Hull FC try. -Credit:News Images

Gardiner in particular drew special praise again from Hodgson, having come into the first team after playing part-time for the Reserves whilst working as a plumber up until last week.

His employer GW Power Safe have allowed him the time off to pursue his rugby league dream, with Hull's desperation with injuries allowing him to get his moment in the team. He hasn't looked back.

That's testament to the player, but also to the Hull club, who have backed the resources they have. After all, youth is a genuine direction of the club and is Hodsgon's long-term plan for this side.

"Will showed that you don't always have to get there the easiest way," Hodgson continued. "He's had to fight like hell to get himself in the frame.

"He was in our Academy a couple of years ago and fell out of that and went to West Hull. He had a good opportunity to come back and train part-time with the Reserves and had to sacrifice some of his own stuff to do that.

"He played well for the Reserves team and we've had conversations about Will's progression for the last six to eight weeks, but through necessity we had to throw him in. He's stood up really well.

"Everyone wants to play first grade and play for their hometown club. I think Will is very happy in our system at the moment and he deserves his spot there. We're excited about how he can hopefully perform again this weekend and see where his future lies."


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