RICHARD AGAR is now starting to prove why he is one of the best young British coaches in the game.
Although the former Dewsbury half-back helped Hull reach the 2008 Challenge Cup final at Wembley, his time at the helm has been plagued by numerous injuries to star players.
But when Agar is able to field a relatively strong side, Hull always prove a major Super League force, and that’s what they are doing right now.
And if Agar’s men can avoid injuries for the rest of this season, the fourth-placed Black and Whites could be making a second Super League Grand Final appearance, following their 26-4 defeat to St Helens at Old Trafford in 2006.
A PLAYER many fans love to hate, Sean Long has been one of the game’s biggest characters for well over a decade, earning almost every honour during a glittering career at St Helens.
The start of his time at Hull earlier this season didn’t bode too well, however, with an ankle injury keeping the scrum half on the sidelines for a couple of months.
But following his return to action, the Black and Whites’ form has got better and better, with Long’s influence growing all the time.
Not that this has come as a surprise to anyone.
A former Great Britain star, the 33-year-old Long famously inspired his country to a 2006 victory over Australia in Sydney.
At club level, he made over 250 appearances for St Helens, winning Super League Grand Finals, World Club Challenges and the Challenge Cup. He also became the first man to win three Lance Todd Trophies, with his hat trick having been achieved in the 2006 Challenge Cup final for Saints against the Giants at Twickenham.
AFTER a relatively shaky start when injuries hit hard, Hull are beginning to re-emerge as a major Super League force.
Last season was a huge disappointment for the men from the KC Stadium as they finished the season just two places off bottom spot.
But this year it’s different.
With the influence of new big signings Sean Long and Craig Fitzgibbon growing with every game they play, the Black and Whites have steadily worked their way up to fourth in the Super League table.
Both Long and Fitzgibbon were among those who suffered spells on the sidelines through injury earlier in the campaign, but they are clearly back to their best and helping inspire those around them.
They arrive at the Galpharm on the back of a comfortable 34-12 home triumph over Salford City Reds, just a week after their astonishing fightback against St Helens when they fought back from 26-6 down early in the second half to win 27-26 thanks to a last-minute drop goal from Giants-linked Danny Tickle.
That win over the City Reds seven days ago was their 11th from 17 top-flight starts, which is already one more win than throughout their entire Super League XIV season and, with the squad growing in strength, it won’t be their last in 2010.