Liam Farrell column: Our hunger to defend has saved us

Liam Farrell was 'wound up' all weekend over a mistake against Salford
Liam Farrell was 'wound up' all weekend over a mistake against Salford

We’ve got a good record at Hull FC but this looks like a different team to the sides we have played before.

In the past, they’ve been on the periphery. Now, having recruited extensively in the off-season, they obviously intend to kick on.

We’ve done some video on them and they’ve got some really good players. Sika Manu, on my side, has played more than a dozen times for New Zealand and players like Mark Minichiello and Frank Pritchard are a real handful, so we really need to get our D right.

We’ve done well at the KC Stadium in the past - I don’t think I’ve ever lost a game there. As much as you’d like to think that doesn’t matter, as a player you are aware of it. By the same token, we’ve not got a good record at Castleford and each time we go there, it is in the back of our mind.

But, of course, what we’ve done in the past won’t count for much if we don’t turn up with an improved performance tomorrow night.

Our 20-16 win against Salford was our third in a row in Super League and the best way I’d describe it was we were off with our attack but our defence was on.

We had that hunger to defend for each other and cover for each other when the errors crept in. In the end, that’s what saved us.

There were spells when we showed what we can do. Oli Gildart’s second try, when Gells broke on one side and then the ball was pinged across to the other, was spot on skill-wise. We just didn’t do that often enough.

At 16-2 we shouldn’t be letting sides back into the game and I’ll hold my hand up, I was at fault for one of the tries. Their backrower Ben Murdoch-Masila caught me off-balance and went past me for a try which levelled the score - that wound me up all weekend.

That is something I can’t accept and I’ll do everything I can to make sure it won’t happen again.

Fortunately, Shaun Wane has not spoken to me about it yet!

But I’d like to think I’m my own worst critic and when I make an error, it plays over and over in my head. Fortunately, Dom Manfredi crossed late on to win the game for us.

Was it a fair try?

I’ve heard some say there was a knock-on in the build-up, others have said we should have got a penalty. Honestly, I don’t focus too much on it - and I’m not saying that because we won - but because there are other key moments during the game which have just as big an impact.

Dom, for example, had a try ruled out for offside but the coaches tell me he was clearly onside - so you take them when they go for you and against you.

Maybe we did get a bit of luck, but there’ll be times when those calls go against us and I’d like to think I won’t bang on about it then.

I saw enough of Salford to convince me they’ll be better this year than in the recent past. They have good players and they know their roles well.

Robert Lui is not only a good ball player, but a big part is his running game too and he’ll cause a lot of teams problems.

Would I be shocked if they made the top-tier when the season splits for the Super 8s?

To be honest, I’d be more shocked if they didn’t.

Widnes did great to pull off a win at Huddersfield to keep them win-less.

I know Huddersfield were low on numbers but that same squad pushed us all the way in their last game.

I’m taking more of an interest in Widnes, with my brother Conor playing there on loan.

They’ve long looked like a team that is building, year on year, and that looks to be continuing.

Leeds are also without a win so far.

They’re going through a tough patch with injuries, compounding the fact they’re still adjusting to the loss of three senior figures at the end of last season.

But going to Catalans and losing by four points is not that bad a result. They even matched Catalans for tries - there was only Pat Richards’ better kicking between them.

They also lost narrowly to Warrington on the opening day. Again, it’s not a bad result.

They’re a strong club and with so many quality players to come back in, no one would be daft enough to think Leeds won’t be a force this season.