Hull FC half-back places 'still up for grabs', says Peter Gentle
PETER Gentle says the decision on who will start the season as his preferred half-back pairing is still to be made, insisting the best men will win out.
The Hull coach appeared to give a good indication of his thinking yesterday, selecting Aaron Heremaia at scrum-half alongside Daniel Holdsworth.
The duo impressed in an experienced Hull side that started the second half against Castleford Tigers, with last season's pairing of Richard Horne and Brett Seymour picked together in a youthful side for the first half at the KC Stadium.
Brought in from Salford City Reds at the end of last season, Holdsworth's place in round one at Leeds Rhinos seems all but assured, with the final piece of the jigsaw to be sorted.
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But, despite seeing Heremaia impress with a try and an assist in an encouraging display, Gentle says the depth to his side and competition for places means nothing has been decided yet.
"We will see what works for us and we have a few options, a lot of options," said Gentle.
"I thought Richard Horne and Brett Seymour did well in the first half steering the young blokes around. What we want is competition for places and the best man will win out."
Having played 29 players against Castleford in their first game of the year, Gentle is set to field around 20 against Hull KR on Sunday as he whittles down his squad ahead of the start of the season.
"It will be a tough decision picking a smaller squad for the next game because the youngsters did a really good job in the first half for us," added Gentle.
"They created a very good platform and the second side that went on capitalised on that. I'm reluctant to call the team that started the game our second string team because there is a lot of experience in that side.
"There is a lot of experience and that is what we have spoken about already, the depth we have in the squad now. For them to compete at this level was good."
A fast start by Castleford which saw them take the lead through ex-Rovers centre Jake Webster was soon overturned in an encouraging performance by a youthful Hull.
Leading 10-6 at the break they handed the baton on to the senior players, who added a further three tries in a comfortable 26-6 victory.
"Everyone got a really decent hit-out and that was the point of playing two teams," explained Gentle.
"The guys got some miles in their legs and now we can concentrate on our next friendly and the start of the competition.
"We have a fair bit of work to do on our attack. There were plenty of new faces out there in the second half and at times we gelled and looked very good, at other times we broke down.
"But that was always going to happen this time of year and there are no major concerns."