'Lot of talent' Denive Balmforth new deal comes with challenge as Hull FC look for big culture gain

Denive Balmforth in action for Hull FC.
-Credit: (Image: SW Pix)


Simon Grix believes Denive Balmforth’s new Hull FC contract is the perfect length to unleash the ‘potential’ in the player. Balmforth, as first reported by Hull Live, put one to paper on a 12-month extension last month, keeping him with the Black and Whites until the end of the 2025 season.

And Grix, who has blooded the young hooker in Super League in recent weeks, is now backing the 20-year-old to nail his targeted improvements and ensure that he earns a long-term deal at the club next year.

Aiming to help keep his feet on the ground, Grix, who has overseen Balmforth play a huge part in recent games against Leeds and Warrington, knows the talent at his disposal, with the interim coach challenging the player to develop more ‘match winning moments’ in future fixtures.

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"I absolutely and undoubtedly agree that there is a lot of talent in Denive,” Grix said in his weekly press conference. “He has got potential. I sound like 'Mr Negative' when I come up here and talk about him but it's our job as staff to keep him on the ground while everyone else is trying to lift him up.

“He has got potential but potential and realising potential, there is a lot of work to do in between. He's on with that, and he knows the areas we're trying to work on. He knows what the top hookers look like in terms of their numbers, performances and output. Their involvement’s are really high and their moments are closer together. They are playing big minutes in a game.

“That is something Denive is going to develop over time but yeah a 12-month contract, that suits Denive and his aspirations. He wants to challenge himself to earn a longer deal with the club and play a longer role. For us, it's a short term look to see how committed he is to making the improvements we expect and hope he can make so we can see that potential. Again, I'm trying to get the balance right as I know I sound negative when I'm talking about Denive, but he's a good player and he's shown qualities.

“He's produced some match changing or match winning moments over the last month when he's been involved, but as much as we all want to celebrate those highlights, we want to get more of them. We're just going to keep working hard with him and keep him on the ground so he doesn't get too carried away with himself."

With a desire to keep bringing through homegrown talent, Balmforth is one of eight young players who have committed their futures to Hull FC in recent weeks, with the hooker joining Logan Moy, Zach Jebson, Matty Laidlaw, Harvey Barron, Davy Litten, Lewis Martin, and Jack Charles in signing new deals at the club.

The challenge for Grix and co is to nurture them into long-term professionals in the first-team, both in terms of how they conduct themselves on and off the field. That is a process well underway, with Hull putting a lot of effort into the holistic development of their young players.

"My approach in this job is to try be as honest and clear as I can be,” Grix continued. “Everyone then knows where they stand. Denive, for example, is clear on what we want him to improve on so the challenge now is to go make those improvements.

“We had a chat the other morning about a lot of things. It's not just a job playing rugby league, and you get paid for it; it's also a lifestyle. You don't clock in and clock out. How you behave when you're not here, whether it's going out with your friends, you still have to behave in a certain manner as you're representing Hull whether you're wearing the jersey or not.

“It's about what you eat, how you recover, and look after yourself, they all play a part in what you produce on a weekend, and that's being a professional. No one walks into any job and they're a professional person straight away; it takes a bit of time and some role models to help them.

“Hopefully, we're making some inroads on some of that to create them good professionals within our group, especially with our young blokes. If we get it right with them, then with our older boys that we're bringing in or the ones who are staying, we can start turning our culture.”

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