Andy Last is delighted with the form of Jamie Shaul after being forced to have honest and candid discussions with the Hull FC full-back last month.
Shaul was one of those that came in for criticism from supporters after the heavy loss to Salford Red Devils in the Black and Whites’ first game back since lockdown and it seems the interim head coach wasn’t impressed with his performance either.
The England international was outshone by his opposite number Niall Evalds and Last felt the need to sit down with him to discuss his performance and where he would like to see improvements.
Shaul’s strengths are undoubtedly in his running game, unpicking defensive lines regularly with his speed and low centre of gravity. Since that clash with the Red Devils, though, he has noticeably been more involved.
While his game time has been limited due to a hamstring issue and concussion, he has upped his game with the ball in hand, becoming another creative outlet in the line and his performances of late have excited Last.
“Jamie’s a player who we had a real open and honest heart-to-heart with after that Salford game,” he told Hull Live.
“He’s fully aware of what we expect of him as a full-back and he accepted the honesty with which we spoke.
“He’s gone away and worked really hard at his game and the feedback we gave him after Huddersfield was that’s what we need more of. We need him to be more of an offensive threat for us and get his hands on the ball as much as possible. The more times he gets his hands on the ball the more dangerous we are.
“He’s a strong and elusive player with great footwork and he challenges those big blokes on the edge of the ruck on the back of quick play-the-balls but he also gets on the end of things.
“We’ve spoke about him covering big distances for us as a full-back and I think he’s been excellent. He’s pieced together 80 minutes, albeit in two separate games of quality work so we just need to try and keep him on the field and he can play the full 80 in the one game.”
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Saturday’s loss to Wigan Warriors came too soon for Shaul after he failed a HIA test after a head knock at half-time against Castleford Tigers.
However, he is expected to return to the fold on Thursday night when FC travel to the Halliwell Jones Stadium to take on Salford Red Devils once more in a crucial Super League clash.