Luke Gale is back in contention and he’ll come straight back into a position where he’s under pressure to perform. It’s going to be interesting because young Ben McNamara has done a decent job in his absence.
He’s got to get on the field, stay on the field and start really contributing. The team has done really well while he’s been out of it. One of the most impressive things about this opening period for Hull FC is how players have stepped up in the absence of others. Brad Fash and Jack Brown have done really well without Kane Evans and Scott Taylor. Joe Lovodua and McNamara have done a great job of steering the ship with no Gale or Josh Reynolds. Mitieli Vulikijapani has done fantastic at centre.
But Brett Hodgson can’t not pick him. Sometimes there’s a reputation and salaries that guarantee if they’re fit, they play. There will be a knock-on effect of that, Lovodua goes to the bench, which could mean Jordan Johnstone moves out as Danny Houghton has been good recently. It’s a luxurious position because performances should increase because of the pressure to keep places.
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But Gale will thrive under those circumstances, his challenge is that he’s the type of player to go too hard, too quickly. He’s smart enough to know what he’s got to do and be basic, simple and that’s the best way of doing what he needs to do because he doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel, he’s coming into a machine that’s quite well oiled.
It’s been a great start for Hull FC. They’re four from six and still in the cup and one of those losses was against St Helens, who were very good that day. It’s a team and a club bumbling along very nicely.
But I’ve seen this happen before, they then go on a horrendous run and start not playing well.
It’s a really big game Thursday night. Wigan aren’t fantastic but they have some steel about them. They put Salford to the sword and destroyed them really. I’ve said for a few weeks I’d love to see them go to Wigan and win, beat one of those top teams and pick them off, particularly away from home. They can do it, they’re capable, they just need to show it.