'Not the Messiah' Jake Trueman return met with caution as Hull FC target step forward

Hull FC half-back Jake Trueman.
Hull FC half-back Jake Trueman. -Credit:Hull FC

Simon Grix is keeping his council with Jake Trueman and his expected return to the Hull FC team at Warrington Wolves this Friday night, but on the same page, there's no doubting the player's quality. The 25-year-old has been named in Hull's 21-man squad and is set to feature in Super League once again after rupturing his Achilles tendon against the same opposition last August.

And after completing all of the physical and skill-related checkpoints for his recovery, Grix is now excited to see some of that calibre back in the Hull line-up. However, there is also caution, with the half naturally needing some time to get match sharpish back, timings, and things like that.

Grix is measured on all fronts, but there's no denying that the player will add to Hull as they look to take another small step forward under their interim head coach. The Black and Whites were much improved against Leeds Rhinos last week, fronting up in defence and seeing more of the ball, even if there is still a way to go on both fronts.

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"We did some good stuff last week, but we probably weren't composed enough at times, and our communication probably wasn't at the level that it needs to be at," Grix told Hull Live. "We can't be the team that comes up with play two, play three errors, whether midfield or in good ball, or anywhere on the field, to be honest.

"But we're getting there, and when we get Truey back in the mix, that's a natural half and a very good one. Last year, he helped the team greatly, and I'd expect it again this year. However, we're not all expecting it at the start. He's going to take a few weeks to get himself to the level that he'll be happy with and that we'll be happy with, but it's a step in the right direction.

"Obviously, I don't want to heap the pressure on him. He's not the Messiah. He's not going to come in and save everyone, but he is definitely going to add to our group. He's a quality player, and I can't wait to see him back out there. He's done a lot of hard work to get himself where he is. He's due a bit of luck as well, so hopefully we see Truey out there every week now for a long period to come."

Trueman's expected return comes at an opportune time for Hull. There's no secret of the long road ahead to get to their desired level, but nonetheless, Grix was encouraged by what he saw against the Rhinos last Sunday, with the challenge now to keep getting better and produce more improved displays. That's the goal for Hull, who have a foundation to build on ahead of another stern challenge presenting itself at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

"I thought we looked like a rugby team again," Grix explained. "The effort was good, and we're starting to see a couple of little changes bearing some fruit in terms of how we want to play. The game was the first time in a while that it looked like training. It looked like how we prepared to play. We're still not happy. We don't come in here and say, 'We're proud of our effort.'

"As much as that's great and we do want to see that effort, we all want the two points. You don't play just to play; you play to win. We'll just keep cracking on, and if we can make the games look more like training, which has been better again this week, then we're heading in the right direction."

Defining progress, Grix, who takes his Hull side to the Wire for the first of four consecutive away games, continued: "It's two points. We need to get in the game and compete like we did last week, but be a bit smarter in our finishes and come up with fewer errors.

"We're not in a spot where we can give up cheap ball. We need to protect the ball to give ourselves the very best chance of getting two points, so an improved performance is the next step for progress, but ultimately, we're heading towards two points. That's what we want, and hopefully, they're not too far away for us."

Grix, meanwhile, is a familiar face at Warrington, having played for the club for several years. Expected a tough clash, he's been impressed with some style changes implemented by Sam Burgess this season.

"They're a dangerous team, but they play their way, they back that, and they're sticking at it," Grix added. "I don't think we have to prepare ourselves for some freakish play. They're going to play a tough game. They've changed their mindset from doing the pretty stuff to putting you in the corners and making life hard for you. It's a roll-your-sleeves sort of night; otherwise, it's going to be a tough one. It's definitely a challenge we're looking forward to."

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