Hull FC boss Lee Radford says club didn't do Jacob Miller "justice" during his Black and Whites days
Hull FC head coach Lee Radford admits his club did not do Jacob Miller “justice” when the Australian half-back was at KCOM Stadium.
Five years after being moved on from the Black and Whites, Miller makes his latest return on Friday as Wakefield Trinity captain and one of Super League’s most creative, consistent playmakers.
Radford is pleased to see the 26-year-old doing so well and conceded: “I think he got put into a real awkward position (at Hull).
“We didn’t do him justice as a club. We signed a 20-year-old scrum half and on his shoulders he was going to be the bloke to get the team around the park, game-manage and be our general.
“That’s a difficult job to do at 20-years of age. I think he’s progressing into that as he gets older and that’s a natural progression for halves anyway. To come in with that much expectation and pressure was always going to be tough on the bloke.”When Hull signed Miller from Wests Tigers midway through the 2013 season, he was supposed to be the answer to their long-running half-back problem but - despite playing at Wembley later that summer - spent part of the next season on loan at Doncaster before eventually being released.
“He came in with that billing and rightly or wrongly the club made headlines that he was going to be our ‘get you round the park’ half and game manager,” added Radford, about the former Australian Schoolboys international.
“That’s a lot of pressure and if you have a couple of bad ones the fans aren’t very forgiving.
“But I say it every time I see him; I’m really pleased for how he’s progressing because he’s a natural footballer, has really good skill and run-game and, as he’s getting more mature, his game is as well.
“Sometimes it’s about timing and if we signed him back then at the age he is now he would have been an unbelievable recruit I’m sure.“But we got him at 20 and it was a lot to expect for a 20-year-old kid and this club and city isn’t very sympathetic to a half-back.”Radford - whose side are on a three-game winning run - is looking forward to Friday night’s contest between both sets of halves.
Hull duo Marc Sneyd and Albert Kelly were outstanding in last week’s victory against Leeds Rhinos.
“Both played really well,” added Radford, who makes just one change to his 19-man squad with Brad Fash hoping to feature after Mickey Paea wasn’t risked due to a rib injury.
“Alby’s running game was fantastic for us and he’s a handful when he carries the ball.
“I thought he defended really well as well, his contact was really tidy up against a string edge in Ferres and Hurrell and Sneyd’s game management was really tidy for us.
“It’s good that they’re in good form.
“They’re coming up against two really good similar players this week. Danny (Brough) has a similar kicking game to Marc and Milky (Miller) is a strong runner of the football as is Alby, so there's very similar threats from both pivots this week.
Veteran former Scotland captain Brough - who won the Challenge Cup with the Black and Whites in 2005 - has quickly settled back at Trinity alongside Miller having joined from Huddersfield Giants over the winter.
Hull winger Fetuli Talanoa is fit as he continues his comeback from injury but has not been selected in the 19-man squad, mainly due to the fine form of new signing Ratu Naulago
Meanwhile, Hull expect their other latest recruit - Brisbane Broncos back-row Andre Savelio - to arrive in the country on Saturday.
Wakefield, who lost narrowly to Hull KR on Sunday, make two changes with fit-again Dream Team second-row Matty Ashurst back in place of the injured James Batchelor and Jordan Crowther preferred to Keegan Hirst.