Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge: Hull FC Turn The Tables On St Helens

The champions suffer an upset at the MKM Stadium
21:51, 22 Jun 2023

Hull FC got revenge against St Helens in the Betfred Super League on Thursday, beating the reigning champions 34-6. Tonight’s victors had gone in drawing 12-12 at half time when these teams met in the Betfred Challenge Cup last Saturday, before Josh Griffin was sent off for dissent at half time. Saints went on to win that tie 32-18 and came into tonight’s clash as favourites. But they faced a very different Hull FC side, who were simply magnificent in a victory secured against the odds.

Hull played like a team determined not to repeat the mistakes of last weekend. It would be reductive to say they did this by keeping the full complement on the pitch. Instead they mounted a free-flowing, front-foot offensive from the get go. 

Darnell McIntosh’s aerial claim and quick-thinking pass sent Jake Clifford over in the early going. He couldn’t convert his try but getting on the board early caused the ghosts of the Challenge Cup to dissipate from above the MKM Stadium.

Andre Sevelio’s active defending sent Hull FC on their way to their second try. A rampaging run saw him eat a tackle and launch a play the ball that ended with Carlos Tuimavave outfoxing Curtis Sironen to score. Clifford made no mistake this time and suddenly Hull led 10-0.

A bizarre third try arrived when Jack Welsby was caught napping as he tried to see the ball out of play. McIntosh got the wrong side of him and palmed to keep it in. Jake Trueman obliged, arriving to touch down. A video review affirmed the knee contact was legal and that McIntosh had done his job and Hull pulled away. Clifford added two and this was turning into a rout nobody expected.

The champions had to eat one more slice of humble pie before the half was out. A Sironen knock-on created the opportunity and Hull seized it through Chris Satae. A low drive over the line and a Clifford two threatened to put Hull out of sight.

It almost went from bad to worse for Saints when Davy Litten’s acrobatic dive appeared to give Hull yet another try. Unfortunately for the home crowd, he had failed to properly control the ball and it wasn’t given. A fine dive denied, but Hull were still the happier team at half time.


Paul Wellens must have given his men some talking to at half time, because Saints began to look like themselves after the break. A storming run from Konrad Hurrell was crucial and when he was tackled, the reigning holders were in perfect field position. A flash passing exchange ended with Welsby sending a daring pass to James Bell to score. Jon Bennison, kicking for the absent Tommy Makinson, added two to get Saints off the mark.

The next try was going to be crucial and it was Hull that got it, stemming the tide of the favourites. Clifford slotted a magic kick through to Cameron Scott, who stood tall in the face of physical resistance to put the ball down. A fine and vital try that Clifford ensured was maximised.

In a repeat from his moment at the end of the first half, Litten once again tried an acrobatic dive in the corner. Once again though, he could not keep his grip on the ball. It was a tighter call than the first, but there was still clear separation involved. A hard moment for the young man to take, but his ambition and athleticism is thrilling all the same.

McIntosh had started this superb Hull night with a catch and pass and he rounded it off with a simply sensational run. He did a veritable dance through the Saints defence, making the champions look like a park team as they flailed in his wake. An appropriately majestic end to a stunning night of rugby league. Clifford made it five from six conversions and put some more gloss on a shining performance for himself and his side.

It doesn't get any easier for Tony Smith's side. The league-leading Catalans Dragons await next before a local grudge match against Hull KR. But after putting Saturday's disappointment behind them, Hull FC will believe they can build on this emphatic display. No matter what follows, the MKM Stadium played host to a night to remember for these Hull FC players.

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