Hull FC: Peter Gentle heads to Australia for player talks
HULL FC coach Peter Gentle will fly back to Australia next week to hold talks with the club's top half-back target.
The trip will also see Gentle meet with former Hull KR full-back Shannon McDonnell to finalise details over his recruitment for next season.
Gentle told the Mail he had intended to stay in the UK throughout the off-season and prepare his plans for 2013.
However, with the club believing it now has the chance to sign the top-quality half back it desires, he has chosen to fly home for face-to-face talks.
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Having missed out on the bid to sign Castleford star Rangi Chase, Gentle told the Mail he is determined to add the "final piece of the puzzle" to his side, and has therefore chosen to handle the matter personally.
Gentle also confirmed he'll meet with McDonnell and his father, who acts as his agent, as they bid to get a long talked-about contract signed for the former Rovers full-back.
It is the deal for a new half-back, however, which will no doubt grab the most attention.
Gold Coast Titans captain and scrum-half Scott Prince has been rumoured to be on Hull's shopping list, as is Wests Tigers' bright young half Jacob Miller.
Unwilling to divulge names, Gentle did admit he has two options, but is confident of securing his top target.
"The half-back is the final piece of the puzzle for us and to get it over the line I feel like I need to sit in the room and talk to the player face to face," Gentle told the Mail.
"It looks very promising and I think we can get it over the line, but it is important to go there to meet the player. We need to sit down and talk.
"There are still a couple of options for us, we have two players we are talking to and I'm going there to get one over the line."
Gentle is eager to reshape Hull's style of rugby for next season, and having added pace to his outside backs already in Joe Arundel and Jason Crookes, he's looking for a more natural scrum-half to operate alongside fellow new recruit Daniel Holdsworth.
"We are looking at a proper number seven, someone who can play the style of rugby I want us to have," added Gentle.
"It's been a tough search because I think it has shown there is a lack of number sevens out there."
The arrival of a new half-back will take Hull's contingent to five, with Richard Horne, Brett Seymour and Danny Nicklas also at the club.
Seymour came in for criticism last season and the arrival of a new half could pave the way for his exit.
Gentle said his fellow Aussie is not being ousted to make way for a new arrival, and is still at the club. Joining the new scrum-half will be a new full-back in McDonnell.
The ex-Hull KR man has been linked with Hull for months now, with the club today again stressing a deal is still to be signed.
Set to meet with the player for further talks, it appears to remain a formality now before McDonnell is confirmed as a Hull player.
"Shannon is at a loose end so I'm going to sit with him and his father while I'm over there," added Gentle.
"He went back to Australia because he had some options, it looks like we may be able to get a deal done now though."
• UPDATE: Prince set for Hull move