After the surprising exit and injury setback, Hull FC left with a half-back conundrum as possibilities were investigated.

After the surprising exit and injury setback, Hull FC left with a half-back conundrum as possibilities were investigated.

With Ben Reynolds’ departure, Hull FC must make a crucial choice.

Hull Derby Week wouldn’t be the same without some drama or scandal. We all recall Hull’s three loan players from 2022, Willie Mason’s deregistration, and the retirement of Lee Radford. Now, before of the two teams’ 246th meeting, we find ourselves in the same situation.

 

Ben Reynolds abruptly left Hull FC on Monday, shocking everyone. The half-back was then freed from Hull KR to sign an 18-month contract with Featherstone Rovers.

Reynolds was signed by Featherstone from Leigh Leopards prior to the 2024 season, completing a full circle of events. After paying a transfer fee, Hull KR signed him to a two-year contract at Craven Park; however, a few weeks later, the club loaned him to Hull FC, a local rival.

Now, three months after playing five games for the Black and Whites, he has signed with Featherstone. If there was a way to encapsulate this year…

 

Hull has clearly suffered from Reynolds’ departure, as the player has spent the last five games playing in the halves with Jake Trueman. Being a natural seven, he was the ideal partner for Trueman as the off-half sought to settle into his own rhythm following a lengthy Achilles rupture. What happens next is raised by it.

It would be na├»ve, certainly in derby week, to rule out an addition being brought in, but given the time restraints, availability, etc, it’s easier said than done. However, it’s an option Hull are naturally exploring, especially given an injury to teenage half-back Jack Charles over the weekend. The 18-year-old suffered a knock in the academy’s win over Wakefield, with Hull, who lost Sully Medforth to a broken collar bone several weeks ago, stretched in the spine.

In terms of who they still have available, Morgan Smith should come back into the side, and is probably the most likely option to partner Trueman. However, Mackenzie Harman, who has been playing on loan at Newcastle Thunder, is also available, while Liam Sutcliffe could slot into the halves, allowing Davy Litten to come in at centre.

 

As for the hooker spot, Hull are preparing to be without Danny Houghton, with Denive Balmforth set to play a prominent role once again. There is also the option of debuting young dummy-half Jeylan Hodgson to help spell him.

Elsewhere, Hull could bring Jack Walker back into the side, with Moy moved to the halves. Of course, the club will be cautious about not fielding too many young players all at once, with Moy, Lewis Martin, Will Kirby, and Will Gardiner all potentially holding their places, with another young forward perhaps coming in. On that front, Ligi Sao is also a doubt, with Matty Laidlaw and Zach Jebson poised to come in.

 

There’s certainly something for interim coach Simon Grix to think about, with Hull stretched again ahead of the third and final meeting of the two sides this season. However, with four days still to go, there’s plenty of time to come up with the best solution.

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