Young Hull FC player debuts show signs of encourgament despite tough year

Davy Litten has impressed for Hull FC so far.
-Credit: (Image: News Images)

Hull FC blooded plenty of young players this year. Giving out six Super League debuts, the club also named two further Academy stars in Lewis Martin and Kye Armstrong in their 21-man-squads.

Three members of the current Academy side got a taste of first grade, with three former Academy players also making their first appearances. It’s been a successful season for the youth departments and with a focus on development, the only way is up. Here Hull Live looks at those six players.

Denive Balmforth

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The first Academy player to debut this year, Balmforth came off the bench against Toulouse back in April and made an immediate impression, scoring within two or so minutes of entering the field. The teenage hooker made three more appearances against Leeds, Salford and Toulouse and had his moments, but naturally there’s some stuff to work on as well. At Academy level, he exploits lazy markers and breaks out of dummy half virtually every game. It’s the more simple things Balmforth perhaps needs to tidy up in order to develop more as a Super League player. The Reserves will be his playground next year as he looks to do just that.

Matty Laidlaw

College rugby league, to Academy, to Super League inside a year, Laidlaw’s story is a remarkable tale. Debuting against Hull KR at the Magic Weekend, the 18-year-old prop was fearless. He drove into everything and tackled anything in sight. Playing eight first grade games. Laidlaw was thrown head first into the deep end, but he kept afloat even though he was wearing armbands at times. That experience will do him the world of good as he looks to keep on developing at Hull FC.

Charlie Severs

The young back rower also debuted at the Magic Weekend before featuring at Wigan in what was a tough night for the side. After getting some minutes in the Toon, Severs had to adapt in a more unfamiliar centre role, but he just got on with it. Hopefully a shoulder problem that ended his 2022 season will be fully behind him when 2023 comes around.

Harvey Barron

The contrast in the games for Harvey Barron couldn’t have been more different. The young winger played his role in the two wins against Toulouse, scoring three tries, and he also appeared against Wakefield and Hull KR in what were two woeful team displays. Wakefield peppered him on a tough night when nothing went his way. Hull KR tried to do the same, but the youngster stood up more than some of his teammates around him. There’s nothing quite like experience, and with some natural pace and a willingness to work hard, the club are backing him to kick on in 2023.

Davy Litten

Debuting against Wakefield, Litten played the final four fixtures of the season and barely put a foot wrong. An intelligent player, Litten showed some really encouraging signs on the wing, having played a bit of fullback on his debut. He stuck at it and held his own, showing the promise he did on loan at Whitehaven and way back in pre-season at Bradford. Still contracted for another two seasons, a big year now awaits.

Will Gardiner

A former Academy player and part-time Reserve prop brought into the first grade side due to the injury crisis, Gardiner went well in his three appearances. He debuted in a gutsy team performance at Salford before scoring a try in his second game against Toulouse. The Derby is probably best left avoided but no blame went the young props way for what unfolded. He’ll likely play in the Reserve team again now and it'll be interesting to see where his future holds.


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