Jake Connor: Brett Hodgson backs Hull FC full-back for England call
Brett Hodgson believes Jake Connor should be in the England frame when Shaun Wane announces his latest squad on Tuesday.
Utility back Connor, who played for England under Wayne Bennett, was left out of head coach Wane’s elite training squad in 2020 but has started the new Betfred Super League season in sparking form in his new full-back role for the Black and Whites.
Impressive in Hull’s opening win over his old club last Sunday, Connor was named man of the match in their 35-4 victory over Salford Red Devils at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Saturday to provide Wane with a timely reminder of his ability.
“I’m not sure what is in Shaun Wane’s mind but what I can say is that, if I was picking a team, he would be in,” Hodgson said.
“He’s exceptional with the ball in his hands and on defence he’s improving every day.”
Connor, who created early tries for Andre Savelio and Josh Reynolds, was forced to move into the halves after both Reynolds and Marc Sneyd limped off in the third quarter, while Hull also lost prop forward Ligi Sao with an ankle strain.
The injuries took some of the gloss off Hull’s impressive display, but Hodgson has not ruled any of them out of next week’s Challenge Cup tie with Featherstone Rovers.
Reynolds added a second try and Cameron Scott scored late on as Hull built on their opening victory to make it two out of two under their new head coach, who believes there is more to come from his side.
“Losing a couple of players didn’t help but the way they stuck together really pleased me,” Hodgson said.
“I thought in the first half we made it difficult for ourselves because we didn’t ice a couple of opportunities. We have to learn to be patient and earn the right to play attacking rugby.
“The fact we scored late in both halves is really pleasing. It’s definitely a pleasing start but, as always, there are things to improve on.”
The resounding defeat leaves Salford head coach Richard Marshall still looking for his first win and, worryingly, the Red Devils have scored just two tries in 160 minutes so far.
Marshall expects utility forward Danny Addy to miss next week’s Challenge Cup tie against Widnes Vikings with a hip injury, while he will check on the fitness of loose forward Elijah Taylor (shoulder) and full-back Dan Sarginson (rib) after they were hurt in Saturday’s loss.
“As last week, there were moments we were in the fight,” Marshall said. “I thought the sin-binning (of Ryan Lannon) was a bit harsh and we didn’t manage the last period of the first half very well. If we’d gone in 8-0 it might have been a different story.
“Discipline has cost us, so we need to look at that. There were some similarities between the two performances.”
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