Danny Houghton: I'll be Hull FC leader in Gareth Ellis' absence
DANNY Houghton says he will lead Hull FC by example as he prepares for one of the proudest moments of his career tomorrow.
The hooker, who says he was surprised to be made vice-captain of the club so early in his career, will step up to captain the team against Bradford in Gareth Ellis' absence.
The 24-year-old says the responsibility is not lost on him, and has set his sights on leading from the front with his performances in the England international's absence.
"I'm not a really vocal person, but I will say what needs to be said before the game and when we get on the field I'll try to lead the team by example," Houghton told the Mail.
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"It is my job to be professional on and off the field and that is the sort of captain I'll be, not someone who shouts at the players.
"I didn't know the vice-captain role was coming.
"Peter Gentle just pulled me aside to say Gareth was going to be captain and I was going to be vice captain. Now because of Gaz's injury, all of a sudden I'm the captain."
Already in his seventh Super League season with the club despite his young age, Houghton has previously captained England Knights and has been earmarked by Gentle as Ellis' long-term replacement as leader of the Black and Whites.
A home-grown product of the club's academy, Houghton admits the fact he grew up supporting Hull will make his stint as captain even more special.
"It is something every child wants to do, captain the side they are playing for," added Houghton.
"Being from Hull and being a Hull FC fan, to get the chance to captain this side out at the KC Stadium tomorrow night will be a very proud moment for me.
"Hopefully I can lead us out to a victory."
Having tasted defeat in their opening round loss at Leeds Rhinos, Hull are eager to get their campaign going with a win against the Bulls.
Holding the Rhinos for 60 minutes at Headingley, the reigning champions scored five unanswered tries in 20 minutes to record a comfortable victory.
Succumbing to a late collapse, Houghton points to a habit which affected his side last season, and one he wants to see eradicated.
"It was the manner of the defeat that was so disappointing last week," he said.
"If we want to be successful this year we need to take the two points when it is close in games like it was against Leeds with 20 minutes to go.
"Last year we were one of the worst teams at conceding late on and we need to change that. It can be the difference between finishing third and seventh in the table.
"We have to put the Leeds performance behind us now and concentrate on Bradford.
"If we defend like we did against Leeds in the last 20 minutes we are in for a tough day again, so we need to learn from last week.
"We had people getting away from the structure last week and you can't defend like that. "When there is a system in place and people don't stick to it, you fall apart, as we did.
"We've worked on our defence a lot this week and will hopefully put it right."