Tom Briscoe: Hull FC must raise game in top four bid
CELEBRATING his 23rd birthday this week, Tom Briscoe addressed the media with all the composure you'd expect from an England international with six seasons of experience.
Hull FC head coach Peter Gentle had insisted following the Huddersfield defeat last week that his side were not in a hole.
If not a hole, it's a small crevice.
With two wins from seven games, Briscoe was hauled out to bang the drum about the Black and Whites' chances of turning things around.
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And bang it he did. He may still be one of the younger members of Gentle's team, but when it comes to experience of difficult times at Hull, few in the current ranks can boast more experience than the winger.
A debut season in 2008 accompanied a finish second from bottom, a further year of hardship followed before three years in the play-offs, but ultimately, as Briscoe explains, three years of failing to reach their targets.
"In the last few years we've always been a few points off where we wanted to be," he said. "We've dropped points in games we should have won and that's been a massive factor in our seasons. We lost games that could have turned around our season."
Not the sort to be reflective, Briscoe's words are meant as a warning of what might be should Hull fail to address their current inconsistency problems.
Having missed the top four by two wins in two of the last three seasons, Briscoe knows every point dropped so far is making it harder to reach the promised land this year.
"The players know we have to start winning. We are up to round eight now and our form has been a bit off," he added.
"Every point is vital, just as it is throughout the whole season.
"Coming into Easter we have four games in two weeks and that can really turn your season around.
"This season we have had performances where we have gone in at half-time winning, started the second half playing well but then dropped off and ended up the wrong side of a scoreline. That is the big area we have to improve.
"We need to improve everywhere, though.
"We've let in sloppy tries and on the back of that we have not thrown a lot at teams."
The aim is to make sure those improvements shine through at The Stoop today, with Hull identifying the game against the London Broncos as a turning point which can kick-start their season.
While the team are hoping for a fillip, Briscoe himself is looking to make a bigger impact.
Describing himself as happy with his form this season, the England winger has had to live off scraps, as his two tries from seven Super League outings shows.
Hull's half-back issues and lack of creativity in attack has hurt Briscoe as much as anyone. While the settled presence of Richard Horne on the right edge has reaped rewards for Tom Lineham and Joe Arundel, a procession of different players on the opposite side has left Briscoe a frustrated figure.
"What I have been doing in the games has been quality, I just haven't seen a lot of the ball. What ball I have had I think I've done well with.
"A big part of my game is running from dummy-half and that is where I see most of the ball.
"It definitely is frustrating when we get the ball in good positions and the ball doesn't reach our side, or we make errors and we are back to square one.
"It comes with the job of being a winger. The further we go into the season, the more of the ball I'll see. But at the minute I'll just focus on doing what I can do for the team, taking the pressure off the forwards and bringing the ball back as often as I can.
"I want to be more involved in the games and if that means taking more scoots in our own half, then that's fine. Hopefully, the team can rely on me to do that."
The obvious questions regarding Briscoe's future were always going to threaten his chance of preaching positivity this week.
Still undecided whether to accept the substantial contract offer still on the table from Hull or head Down Under, Briscoe fronted up, said very little and was eager to move on.
Putting a deadline himself on when to make a decision, the winger and his agent created needless pressure.
Swerving the issue by firmly insisting his focus is on Hull and there will be no rush on his decision, Briscoe's maturity shone through further.
As part of a very young and relatively inexperienced back five at London today, Hull will need their international star to be equally as commanding on the pitch.