|Hull KR (12) 16|
|Tries: Hadley, Linnett, Crooks Goals: Dagger 2|
|Hull FC (22) 31|
|Tries: Bowden, Faraimo 2, Naulago 2, Sao Goals: Sneyd 3 Drop-goal: Sneyd|
Jake Connor’s creativity and vision inspired Hull FC to victory over city rivals Hull KR, in a behind-closed-doors derby in St Helens.
He twice provided the key passes for Bureta Faraimo, plus Ratu Naulago and Ligi Sao efforts after Josh Bowden’s early try got the ball rolling.
Rovers had kept pace for half an hour, replying the early tries through Dean Hadley and Kane Linnett.
Ben Crooks added a third Rovers try but the game was already gone.
Connor was withdrawn late on with a sore knee after opposition prop George Lawler landed awkwardly on the joint in a tackle, which was one slightly sour note to a hugely positive night for Hull FC.
The England international has had his stints in the halves but flourished at full-back in place of Jamie Shaul, who has been ruled out for the season with a knee injury.
The ‘catch and kick’ in one motion that brought up Faraimo’s first was sublime skill by Connor, while his variety of passing and a threatening running game continually caused Rovers issues.
With talk of an expanded play-off series and the possibility of an early finish to the regular season, Hull FC would certainly be considered one of the form teams going into that patch of the campaign.
They are just behind Leeds on 52.9% with nine wins from 17, with the Rhinos on 56.25%.
Rovers, again guided by David Hodgson in the absence of the isolating Tony Smith, never gave up in their efforts despite losing key playmaker Jordan Abdull to injury, but remain bottom of the table – albeit without relegation to fear.
Their best work came through the former Hull schemer, as he took a brilliant Linnett offload to put Dean Hadley in and then helped creator turn scorer for the second.
Crooks was put in out wide to continue his decent scoring form, but as on many occasions this season it is stopping teams that causes Rovers problems, not scoring against them.
Hull KR assistant David Hodgson: “You are always disappointed to lose a derby, albeit it’s on the other side of country with no fans.
“It’s a hard one to take. Hull played some good rugby at times and took their chances.
“It’s been a tough period. We’ve had three games in eight days finishing with the derby, but there was a massive improvement on the start of the game. I thought the effort was there.”
Hull FC interim head coach Andy Last: “It’s very sweet. It’s nice to be able to say I won my first home game as acting head coach and now my first derby. It’s something I’m very proud of.
“Hull KR were very good in the first 30 minutes and we struggled to get out of our own end but the introduction of Danny Houghton, Ligi Sao and Chris Satae helped turn it around.
“We’re starting to show some consistency in our performance and it’s nice to be sat here having won three on the bounce but the acid test is what’s coming up.
“We have to play St Helens and Wigan which will be a step up in level and a good gauge to see where we’re at.”
Hull KR: Dagger; Crooks, Kenny-Dowall, Linnett, Rawsthorne; Lewis, Abdull; Lawler, Parcell, King, Hauraki, Hadley, Minchella.
Interchanges: Mulhern, Gee, Maher, Milnes.
Hull FC: Connor; Faraimo, Fonua, Tuimavave, Naulago; McNamara, Sneyd; Taylor, Johnstone, Bowden, Ma’u, Savelio, Cator.
Interchanges: Houghton, Satae, Sao, Fash.
Referee: Liam Moore