Hull FC v Bradford: They will come out fighting, says Aaron Heremaia
SITTING down to watch back their performance at Leeds, Aaron Heremaia was struck with an overwhelming thought this week – if he was a Bradford player he'd be rubbing his hands right now.
Something of a video nasty, Hull FC's performance at Leeds made uncomfortable viewing for the players.
For 60 minutes they may have been in with a chance of taking home the spoils, but as Heremaia admits, even at six points apiece the Black and Whites were not living up to their high standards.
"Bradford's forwards will have watched the video of the Leeds game and they'll be looking forward to playing us because they'll have seen how much joy Leeds had through the middle," explained Heremaia.
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"If I was a Bradford player I'd be excited about playing us this week."
Trampled through the middle, Hull's forwards were unable to lay a platform for any sort of sustained attack, while defensively individual errors crept into the team.
Buoyed by a positive pre-season, it was an immediate comedown from all the positivity as a feeling of deflation took hold last Friday.
After stewing over the weekend, Hull's players returned to training determined to learn from their mistakes, and address in particular their defensive failings.
Confident that work has been done, the Kiwi admits the key factor tonight is a rise in intensity from his team-mates.
"You'd like to have thought the intensity would have been there for the first game of the season, so after that performance against Leeds you'd expect a reaction from our team this week," adds Heremaia.
"We are confident in our attack but last week we did too much defending. When we get the ball we are playing off slow play-the-balls and trying to go wide off a slow play the ball, that just leaves the defence up in your face.
"As important as our attack is, and it needs to be better, what's important is our defence is strong and aggressive and if we do that, our attack will roll off the back of it.
"Individually, you as a person when you run that ball, you have to make sure you run it as hard as you can and then make sure you fight to play the ball as fast as you can.
"Leeds wanted to play the ball faster last week, it's our job this week to make sure we fight that. Individually, the attitude has to be right."
The 30-year-old former New Zealand Warriors player was one of a select few that came away from the Leeds game with any credit.
Playing off the bench, Heremaia's introduction at Headingley brought a zip to Hull's play, with the hooker busy around the ruck and looking to take his side forward with some purpose.
Having been in contention to start the season as Daniel Holdsworth's partner in the halves, it was the perfect response from Heremaia, who once again underlined his value to the team.
And yet this week that half-back role he doesn't covet looks like being his again. The below-par performance of Brett Seymour last week has put the Aussie's place in the team in jeopardy and Heremaia may well find himself tasked with switching to the scrum-half role he occupied a number of times last year.
"I'm happy in either position and it's a case of doing whatever Pete wants," says Heremaia.
"I enjoyed my role at Headingley and trying to bring some enthusiasm off the bench, I enjoy starting games too, but I'll do what's best for the team."
Putting the team dynamic first, Heremaia knows what is important most is a first win of the season tonight. Beaten only once at home in Super League last year, Hull are hoping their KC record can be equally as impressive this season.
"I'd like to think our home is a fortress and last year we certainly had a good record and teams didn't like coming here," added Heremaia.
"It is important we keep that up. With Bradford coming here off a good win, it will be tough, but we are confident we can get our first win."