It’s probably fair to say the start of the season has been mixed for Hull FC.
Victories came against Leeds Rhinos and Hull KR as FC showed themselves to be the early pacesetters, but St Helens proved to be a stumbling block and Lee Radford’s side struggled for any sort of rhythm at Wigan Warriors on Sunday.
As a result, at the end of the first month, they find themselves seventh in the league table.
It’s still way too early to start analysing the Super League table with Storm Ciara ensuring a number of teams have games in hand, while Catalans Dragons have only played twice so far this season.
However, throughout March, FC have the opportunity to do some foundation building and while there’s some tricky fixtures coming up, there’s absolutely no reason why Hull shouldn’t be targeting a maximum points haul.
The month starts with a tricky clash with a star-studded Catalans Dragons, before the Black and Whites take on Wakefield Trinity, Warrington Wolves, Huddersfield Giants and Salford Red Devils.
It’s a month that’s gruelling with five games crammed in, with turnarounds short on occasion, but it’s a month that Hull must, and have the ability to, grasp with both hands and squeeze dry of points.
Catalans Dragons (h) – March 1
March gets off to a tricky start as Hull host a fresh Catalans outfit, on the back of two defeats against play-off rivals.
Confidence will have taken a knock, but the Black and Whites will welcome back a number of players from suspension and injury and they’ll fancy their chances of seeing off Steve McNamara’s side.
It won’t be easy, though, Catalans have their own ambitions of reaching the top five this season and they’ve recruited talent such as James Maloney and Israel Folau to help them get there.
Three defeats in a row wouldn’t be disastrous, but bouncing into a key month with a win under their belt ought to be the minimum expectation for Radford.
Wakefield Trinity (a) – March 6
On paper FC should have more than enough to claim the points at the Mobile Rocket Stadium, but the game isn’t played on paper.
The Black and Whites have struggled against Wakefield recently, losing three of their last five meetings, including a horrific 72-10 defeat in 2018.
The facilities and conditions at the famous old ground can be a leveller at times and while Hull will be strong favourites heading into the game, they’ll have to have their wits about them in West Yorkshire.
A result at Wakefield would lead nicely into what is the biggest game of the season so far.
Warrington Wolves (h) – March 12
Warrington share the same record as FC at present but having lost to Saints and Wigan already, Radford will be looking at this game as a must-win.
There are early question marks over Radford's side and if they’re to be taken seriously this time around, they need to show that they can beat a top five team.
Just like Hull, Steve Price’s side have been tipped for big things and with the quality in that side, it seems likely that they’ll be up at the top end of the table come the end of the season.
Warrington ran riot on their last visit to the KCOM Stadium, with Blake Austin running in four, but FC should fancy their chances of negating the Wolves’ bite.
Huddersfield Giants (a) – March 19
The Giants have impressed so far, but it’s highly unlikely that they’ll still be unbeaten by the time FC rock up at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Aidan Sezer is the man pulling the strings for Simon Woolford’s side and they’ve picked up three good wins so far, including one in the south of France.
However, FC should be collecting two more points in West Yorkshire that evening against a side many had tipped for relegation this season.
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Salford Red Devils (h) – March 27
Last season’s Grand Finalists aren’t the side they once were, this season’s results have proved that.
They’re not to be taken lightly, though. Ian Watson’s side picked up points at the KCOM last August and they’ll hope to have lifted their season off the ground by the time they travel to East Yorkshire.
Nevertheless, Hull should have too much for Salford on home soil.