HULL FC have wasted little time showing they could be a major force in Super League XV.
After missing out on the play-offs last season, the KC Stadium club embarked on an impressive recruitment drive, bringing in the likes of legendary St Helens scrum half Sean Long and top Australian forwards Craig Fitzgibbon and Mark O’Meley.
And the result was immediate.
In their opening game of the season seven days ago, the black and whites travelled to St Helens and ran riot to record a highly-impressive and thoroughly-deserved 32-12 triumph. In fact, many could argue the margin of victory failed to reflect the visitors’ dominance.
As a result, a top-eight finish and a decent Challenge Cup run will be the minimum requirements for a team that reached the Super League Grand Final in 2006 and Wembley in 2008.
The Airlie Birds will also be desperate to re-establish superiority over cross-city rivals Hull KR following a season in which they finished eight places behind their oldest enemy in 12th.
SEAN LONG’S glittering career has been filled with success at the highest level during a legendary spell at St Helens.
Having left Knowsley Road at the end of last season, the 33-year-old will be looking to breathe new life into the Airlie Birds by bringing his infectious enthusiasm and classy scrum-half play to the KC Stadium.
The former Great Britain star made over 250 Saints’ appearances, winning Super League Grand Finals, World Club Challenges and the Challenge Cup. He is also the only man to win three Lance Todd Trophies, with his last coming against the Giants in Saints’ 2006 Challenge Cup final success at Twickenham.
STARTING his second full season in charge as Hull’s head coach, Richard Agar has been in position since Peter Sharp’s departure from the KC Stadium in May 2008.
Although injuries blighted his time in charge last year, five straight wins at the start of 2009 and a Wembley appearance in 2008 showed the experience Agar gathered from stints at England Students, England Academy and York City Knights.