Hull FC left with half-back conundrum as options considered after shock exit and injury blow

Jack Charles in action for Hull FC.
-Credit: (Image: SW Pix)


It's not Hull derby week without some sort of drama or scandal. We all remember Lee Radford coming out of retirement, Willie Mason getting deregistered, and Hull's loan trio of 2022, and now, ahead of the 246th meeting between the two clubs, here we are again.

Ben Reynolds' sudden departure from Hull FC was a shock to the system on Monday, with the half-back subsequently being released from Hull KR to sign for Featherstone Rovers on an 18-month deal.

It's a sequence of events that's gone full circle, with Reynolds signed by Featherstone from Leigh Leopards ahead of the 2024 season. Hull KR then paid a transfer fee to lure him to Craven Park on a two-year deal, before the club loaned him out to local rivals Hull FC just a few weeks later.

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Now, after five games at the Black and Whites, he's left to sign for Featherstone, and all within three months. If anything could sum up this year...

Obviously, Reynolds' departure is a blow for Hull, with the player slotting into the halves alongside Jake Trueman for the last five games. A natural seven, he was the partner Trueman needed, with the off-half looking to get into his own stride after returning from a long-term Achilles rupture. That begs the question: What now?

It would be naïve, certainly in derby week, to rule out an addition being brought in, but given the time restraints, availability, etc, it's easier said than done. However, it's an option Hull are naturally exploring, especially given an injury to teenage half-back Jack Charles over the weekend. The 18-year-old suffered a knock in the academy's win over Wakefield, with Hull, who lost Sully Medforth to a broken collar bone several weeks ago, stretched in the spine.

In terms of who they still have available, Morgan Smith should come back into the side, and is probably the most likely option to partner Trueman. However, Mackenzie Harman, who has been playing on loan at Newcastle Thunder, is also available, while Liam Sutcliffe could slot into the halves, allowing Davy Litten to come in at centre.

As for the hooker spot, Hull are preparing to be without Danny Houghton, with Denive Balmforth set to play a prominent role once again. There is also the option of debuting young dummy-half Jeylan Hodgson to help spell him.

Elsewhere, Hull could bring Jack Walker back into the side, with Moy moved to the halves. Of course, the club will be cautious about not fielding too many young players all at once, with Moy, Lewis Martin, Will Kirby, and Will Gardiner all potentially holding their places, with another young forward perhaps coming in. On that front, Ligi Sao is also a doubt, with Matty Laidlaw and Zach Jebson poised to come in.

There's certainly something for interim coach Simon Grix to think about, with Hull stretched again ahead of the third and final meeting of the two sides this season. However, with four days still to go, there's plenty of time to come up with the best solution.

Read more: Hull FC's Tom Briscoe sets sights on inflicting more misery on KR after derby comment