Hull happy to ignore mind games

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Published: Saturday 2nd May 2015 by The News Editor

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Lee Radford praised his Hull FC side for ignoring Salford’s mind games and claiming a crucial 24-20 victory at the KC Stadium.

The depleted Red Devils had asked the Black and Whites to postpone the Super League fixture and there were suggestions coaches Martin Gleeson and Ian Watson would come out of retirement to make up the numbers, but they named a strong 17 and were ahead for over an hour.

Radford was not fooled by the talk in the build-up and felt it was just a psychological tactic to distract his side, who were coming off a disappointing defeat to Huddersfield.

“The job they did of deflecting all the pressure off them and putting it all on our boys was great sport psychology, I suppose,” said Radford, who himself was without nine first-team players.

“I said to our lads, ‘It’s about us tonight and whatever team they bring is what it is. We owe ourselves a response after last week in terms of effort and energy’. I thought I got that tonight.

“The squad they named had seven internationals so it was always going to be a tough encounter.”

The Airlie Birds found themselves 8-6 down at the break after Tom Lineham, who was subsequently sin-binned during the celebrations, crossed to eat into Salford’s lead, which was built up courtesy of Kevin Locke’s early try and four points from the boot of Theo Fages.

On-loan Wigan pair James Greenwood and Oliver Gildart scored their first Salford tries either side of Fetuli Talanoa’s effort before Mark Minichiello got Hull back to within two points of the Red Devils at 20-18.

Setaimata Sa edged Hull ahead for the first time in the 71st minute and they saw the match out for two precious points.

The result saw the Black and Whites leapfrog Widnes and rivals Hull KR, who were hammered 60-0 at Wigan on Friday night, into ninth in the table, and Radford believes his team are well placed for a strong finish to the season.

“We’re one spot away from where we want to be and we’re still in the Challenge Cup,” he said.

“We’ve won four of our last five games and the world was going to stop spinning last week.”

For all Salford’s injury problems, head coach Iestyn Harris was left to rue the loss of three key players due to ill-discipline.

“I think what’s killing us is the suspensions,” he said. “Cory (Paterson), Weller (Hauraki) and Rangi (Chase) are all healthy but suspended.

“You put them three into the team and it would have been a different situation today.

“We should have killed the game off at eight points up with 20 minutes left but didn’t.

“We were a little bit naive in some areas. That could have been down to personnel – and I think it was – but we had enough out there to kill that game off.

“I’m always proud of their effort and attitude but we weren’t as smart as we needed to be tonight.”

Published: Saturday 2nd May 2015 by The News Editor

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