Simon Grix lays out big Hull FC question after 'mixed' Castleford Tigers defeat

Hull FC's Herman Ese'ese dejected after his side's loss to Castleford.
-Credit: (Image: SW Pix)


Simon Grix has laid out a firm challenge to his Hull FC side after an energetic finish to Friday night's defeat at Castleford. The Black and Whites went down 30-22 in West Yorkshire, finishing with a flurry after an indifferent start.

However, it was all little too late, with Grix wanting to see the same energy and intent from the start in future games, with Hull succumbing to their tenth consecutive defeat. They trailed 12-0 early on and 18-10 at half-time. That deficit extended to 30-10 in the second half, with Hull, who brought more desire and energy to their game in the final 20 minutes or so after what was a lacklustre opening hour, giving themselves too much to do.

Asked why it took so long for Hull to turn the tempo up, which coincided with Morgan Smith's introduction to the field, Grix told Hull Live: "Often the teams, when the scoreboard is almost gone, find that energy. I think the question for us is: can we find it earlier on? It's easy to find it when the pressures off and the chances of getting back in it are almost gone, but the challenge for us is finding it a little bit earlier.

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"Morgan did come on and speed us up. There's probably an argument that I should have put him on earlier, but I thought Danny Houghton was doing a great job for us. He's been leading our effort areas and our line speed since week one. He's been at this club for a long time, and on his 450th appearance, I wanted to give him that gametime.

"But Morgan was bright for us. He gave us some width from the dummy half with some good skill. He brought our halves into the game during that period."

Assessing the game overall, Grix believes Hull's display was an upturn from their showing in London two weeks ago, although there is still a way still to go. He continued: "We're disappointed, obviously, but from where we were in terms of our effort, our desire, and our commitment to each other at London away, I thought we improved quite a bit.

"However, as the game goes, we blink first in the first half. There were a couple of average individual bits for their first couple of tries. Sutty then should ground the ball instead of trying to scoop it. We then fought our way back before half-time and were in a good position. We spoke at half-time about getting into the grind of it again. Cas was teetering, and we just kept giving them little bits. Our discipline wasn't good enough either, and some penalties on plays four and five in yardage really hurt us.

"The second half was much of the same, and then, with 15 minutes to go, we decided we wanted to play. We played how we practiced, and we moved the ball around and looked to stretch Cas, and we probably bombed a few chances. I know it doesn't feel too positive when you're losing games, but there was some stuff that I was happy with: moving the ball, getting bodies moving, and getting desperate.

“I thought we were building into the game. It was going set for set. We probably didn’t move the ball enough early on. We weren’t brave enough. A lot of this is low-risk stuff; we’re just asking them to get the ball moving, challenge the opposition, and throw more questions at them. It got away from us through our ill-discipline. We just kept letting them off and it got away with us which has been our story. I thought we showed a bit of character to come back and make a challenge. We just need to be better for longer

"Again I’ll go back to the London game, that was the lowest point so far. I didn’t think we looked like a team that was committed to each other and the badge, as harsh as it sounds, but tonight they looked more committed. It was a step forward and although it’s not want we want it was an improvement on last week. There were some individuals among them that took some steps forward for us."

Hull handed out a debut to Ben Reynolds in the halves, with Grix happy with how he went. The interim head coach also praised Tiaki Chan, who got over for a try in the second half.

"Ben dug into the line, he played straight, he held them up, and he made sure that he got onto the ball," Grix added. "He doesn't let the game pass him by. For game one, I was pretty impressed. I thought he was good.

"Tiaki is a ball of energy. He's on the small side, but he doesn't play like a small man. He throws his body into everything. He's learning; he's still really young, but he's come with an energy that we really needed. Hopefully, we can keep hold of him for a little bit longer. His try was pretty good. He turned up for the play and he'll keep on getting better, the more gametime he gets."

Read more: Hull FC defeated again as late flurry fails to cover early blows in Castleford victory