In what is merely the latest injury setback to befall on of Hull FC’s stars in 2018, it looks as though the impressive Jake Connor may well have played his last rugby of the season.
During the team’s home defeat to St Helens, the former Huddersfield Giant exited the play on a stretcher with a suspected serious knee injury, one the club fear could end his season. Given the club’s alarming injury record throughout 2018, it perhaps shouldn’t be surprising that Connor has been the club’s sole ever present. Indeed, the 23-year-old has been one of the competition’s most impressive and consistent performers throughout the season and was one of a handful of candidates to be nominated for Super League’s Man of Steel award.
Having been without Albert Kelly and Carlos Tuimavave at times throughout the year – two of the Airlie Birds’ options in the halves – Hull FC are still without premier scrum half Marc Sneyd. Connor’s consistency, then, throughout the year is all the more remarkable given that he has had to play with the three aforementioned players as well as the inexperienced Liam Harris; Connor has, at times, had to fulfill a responsible, disciplined role to lead the team around the field, something which seems to go against his natural game. Previously mentioned as a ‘horrible little man’ by his own head coach Lee Radford, the former Siddal amateur has demonstrated his versatility, composure and sheer talent throughout the season – something the club are sure to miss if his absence is, indeed, an extended one.
With eight tries in twenty appearances for the Airlie Birds, Connor has also picked up five man of the match awards. However, his season highlight would surely be making his England debut in the Denver test against New Zealand last month, a match in which he scored a try following his introduction from the interchange bench and impressed throughout. Surely a shoe-in for involvement in the three match home series against the Kiwis at season’s end, Wayne Bennett and the England set up will be hoping that the mercurially talented Connor will be available – Radford, however, believes it looks bad for him. “I’ve not spoken to the physio yet but it’s a big blow either way,” he outlined.