Hull FC 'worst ever' reality hits home as side faces prospect of unwanted record

It can’t get any worse. That's the general consensus after every significant Hull FC setback. It turns out it can. And it will. Sunday was a new low. Humbled and humiliated, Hull were second best to London Broncos in just about every department. They got exactly what they deserved.

London, 34-18 winners on the day, despite trailing three times, were far better on the ball. They played to a tidy shape, structure, and system, and they executed it in a crisp and organised fashion. They were a genuine threat, especially when going to their edges, where every player knew his role, whether that was running a line, receiving the ball, or pushing in support. Everything clicked.

On the contrary, Hull were a rudderless rabble. There was no shape or structure to their play, nor leadership or direction. It was flat, soulless, and well below par, and best summed up by a chaotic and panicked ten-minute period after Jordan Lane’s yellow card. Defensively, it was just as bad. There was no desperation or fight. It was, to put it frank, a complete utter shambles against a side that has scored 58 of their 116 points in Super League this season against them.

But what’s new? And what can be said in regards to that Hull performance that hasn’t been said before? After three weeks of at least having a dig in their displays, this is back to square one with a clear lack of desire, intent, urgency, quality, and the like.

It was such an abject showing, with no cohesion or connection to their performance. Hull, clearly suffering the realities of a poor recruitment and retention cycle, looked so badly out of tune against an opposition that is still using part-time players. Let that sink in.

And again, that’s not to spite London. They deserved to beat Hull earlier in the year and they fully deserved their win here. It was the first of the season that they so desperately craved, and it sees them draw level with Hull on the Super League table, who, unless things drastically change and for more sustained periods, have a genuine possibility of finishing the year at the bottom of the pile.

That’s the biggest reality. This team are in dangerous territory of becoming the worst this club has ever seen, not just in the Super League era but in their entire history.

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That isn't an overreaction; it's based on years of shocking results and finishes, but it's also something that can be shown in numbers. In 1999, widely perceived as Hull’s worst season in the summer era, they won just one of their opening 17 games, surviving by the skin of their teeth in the final round. Their current run, albeit stretching back to last season, sees just one win in 18 games. It’s a worrying similarity.

In that 1999 season, Hull won just five of their 30 league games. So far this year, they have one win from 11, with 16 rounds still to come. Furthermore, Hull’s current losing streak now sits at nine games since they defeated London at the MKM Stadium back in March, their only win this year. That matches unwanted nine-game losing runs from way back when, in both 1972 and 1977.

It’s also dangerously close to the club’s worst ever run of 13 consecutive defeats, set in the 1963–64 season, which saw just four wins from 30 league games, and equalled over 2018 and 2019. Hull, who have hit rock bottom in terms of the manner of defeat, are now four games away from matching that unwanted record, and you’d struggle to say with any conviction that a win will come over the next month to prevent the inevitable.

What a sad indictment that is, but again, it’s the reality. It’s what Hull, who need to find some guts and determination now to avoid a first stone cold bottom finish in 60 years, have become. This is the worst version of themselves and perhaps the worst ever, with a long and tricky road ahead to get themselves back on an upward curve and competing in the right half of the competition again.

In the meantime, Hull’s big saving grace is IMG ball, as based on rugby league alone, their current trajectory would be hovering dangerously close to the Championship. Thank heavens for social media engagements and spreadsheets.

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