Denive Balmforth set loan challenge as Hull FC share insight into hooker plan

Denive Balmforth in action for Hull FC in pre-season.
-Credit: (Image: Dave Lofthouse/Hull FC)


Simon Grix has laid out Hull FC hooker Denive Balmforth's biggest challenges, with his current focuses centred on turning his bright 'moments' into more sustained and longer periods of play.

The 20-year-old is currently on a short-term loan with Championship side Swinton Lions and is set to debut for them against Featherstone Rovers this weekend. Grix, meanwhile, wants to see the young dummy half have a consistent performance, with the test to master 'the bits in between' those moments.

The interim head coach says there is no doubt about Balmforth's talent, who has played two first-grade games for Hull this season. Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Grix said: "He’s had a couple of opportunities and had a couple of good moments.

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"I'm not speaking out of turn here because Denive knows this and he's been told by people before, but if the game was picked on moments, then Denive probably plays. He'd be in that team more often.

"When I mean moments, I mean the highlights, the sharp run out of dummy half, and those little things that he's certainly got the talent to do. It's all the bits in between those moments that need to improve."

He continued: "Playing at nine is up there with the hardest positions on the field physically, especially when you're not such a big fella either, and Denive's fitness needs to be better. He needs to be tougher in that regard, but he needs to get more of those moments closer together. That only comes from being fit and having a really good go at that side of things.

"The talent is definitely there with Denive. It's up to him whether he wants to challenge himself enough to be in a position to make those moments more frequent. The opportunity is there for him; he just needs to go and make it work."

Balmforth's loan move means Hull are almost certain to run with Danny Houghton and Morgan Smith as the two hookers for Friday's game at Huddersfield Giants, with Smith set to play a greater spell this week after impressing off the bench against Castleford Tigers.

"Morgan will probably play for more time," Grix added. "I thought he was good for us off the bench. Danny was great for us before, and then in the last 20 minutes, we all decided to play.

"That accentuates what Morgan did for us. Don't get me wrong, Morgan was good, but Danny did a good job for the other sixty minutes or so. Morgan just needs to build on that, as that might be his role now moving forward off the bench, covering the hooker and half spots. We were happy with him the other night, but the old boy is still going pretty well as well."

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