Hull FC marked their return to the KCOM Stadium in style with a comprehensive 48-6 Super League victory over struggling Castleford.
The Black and Whites’ first home game in over seven months saw the hosts banish the demons from their last encounter, a 38-4 humbling by Warrington on March 12 that saw Lee Radford immediately lose his job as head coach.
Assistant coach Andy Last has stepped up as interim boss since, although the coronavirus pandemic meant he did not take charge of his first game until August 9 in a heavy 54-18 defeat to Salford.
But Last had no worries in his first official home match in temporary charge as Hull ran in eight tries to inflict Castleford’s eighth defeat in nine matches in all competitions since rugby league’s restart, including all three against the Black and Whites.
Daryl Powell’s side improved marginally in the second half after trailing 24-0 at the break, with Jacques O’Neill crossing for a late consolation in a tepid performance.
The Tigers had not been in action for 17 days, their last game a late 32-28 defeat at home to Hull, but they got off to a slow start when Gareth O’Brien knocked on with their first carry of the match.
That gifted Hull possession on their 20-metre line and Jake Connor picked out Ratu Naulago, who collected the kick with a stunning one-handed catch and touched down.
After only six minutes, Hull motored into a 12-0 lead when Andre Savelio broke through the visiting defence to stroll under the posts.
Castleford should have got on the scoreboard four minutes later when captain Michael Shenton burst clear before inexplicably passing the ball and losing possession, despite shrugging off the last-ditch tackle of Jamie Shaul and having the line at his mercy.
The Tigers were enjoying their best spell of the game but it was Hull who increased their lead through Connor in the 19th minute.
Marc Sneyd’s floated kick was contested by Connor, who forced the Castleford defender to knock the ball down before picking up the loose ball to mark his 26th birthday with a try.
And it was not long before Hull crossed for their fourth score to make it 24-0.
A no-look cross-field kick from Connor found Josh Griffin, who patted down for Manu Ma’u and the forward played a pass for Bureta Faraimo to wrestle past Danny Richardson in the corner.
Hull continued to dictate the game but they had to wait until the 53rd minute before they got on the scoreboard again through Naulago’s superb second score.
Castleford had good field position but Richardson’s kick to the corner was too long for his team-mates, with Naulago plucking it out of the air and racing 90 metres untouched.
A superb passing move from Jordan Johnstone and Savelio opened up a gap in the Tigers’ defence for Danny Houghton to extend the lead to 36-0.
Castleford finally scored through O’Neill with eight minutes remaining to prevent a whitewash but Hull had the final say.
Carlos Tuimavave jinked his way over the line before Sneyd’s kick to the corner after the hooter deceived Cheyse Blair for Ma’u to dot down the home side’s eighth and final try.
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