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Hull head coach Lee Radford takes positives from St Helens defeat

UK & international sports | Published:

But Radford refused to criticise his side’s battling qualities.

Hull head coach Lee Radford was proud of his team’s performance despite suffering a 34-18 defeat to Betfred Super League leaders St Helens at the KCOM Stadium.

Bureta Faraimo put the hosts ahead in the opening set of the match but the league leaders worked their way back through Tommy Makinson and Ben Barba to move 10-8 ahead at the break, after the home winger’s second score.

The Black and Whites regained the lead when Jansin Turgut and Albert Kelly crossed to put Hull 18-10 up but Saints came roaring back as Jonny Lomax (two), Barba, Adam Swift and Luke Thompson all scored to seal a great comeback victory and the Steve Prescott Cup.

But Radford refused to criticise his side’s battling qualities despite conceding with 24 unanswered points in the final quarter of the match.

“I’m proud of the energy we put into the game for 60 minutes but we ran out of petrol in the end,” he said.

“There are three or four players who really need a rest but there’s nothing we can do about it with the injury situation. They’re making errors because of their fatigue.

“We got out of the blocks in the first-half really well, and the second-half in fact, but we have to show more resilience. It became too easy for Saints when we were faced with a little bit of adversity.”

Defeat leaves Hull’s top-four ambitions in doubt as they slipped seven points behind fourth-placed Castleford ahead of the Super 8’s next month, but fourth place is something that the Airlie Birds’ boss is considering as his injury list continues to mount.

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He said: “If it does, it does. We had seven first-teamers missing against a full-strength St Helens, that is a challenge. I seem to keep saying that every week, (but) that is the challenge at the moment (to field a strong team).”

England international Jake Connor was carried off on a stretcher with a leg injury just before half-time but Radford could not reveal whether it was a serious knee injury, as reported.

He added: “We don’t know what he (Connor) has done. All I know is that he couldn’t come back on.”

St Helens boss Justin Holbrook was happy to watch his side turn the screw against injury-hit Hull as they extended their lead at the top of Super League to eight points ahead of next week’s derby with second-placed Wigan.

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“We knew it would be a really tough game here at Hull. We are obviously playing well, that’s obvious from where we sit, (so (just play for the full 80 minutes I guess,” Holbrook said.

“We were in a tough spot for a bit there but we managed to get some opportunities and when we did, we were good enough to take them. It was great to watch.

“We didn’t play our best in the first half but still good enough to lead, which was a real positive out of the half. Hull came out and played really well so I’m really pleased with that win.

“We are really happy with where we are sitting and playing really well every week at the moment so we want to keep it that way, we have a tough game next week but looking forward to that one.”

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