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Carlos Tuimavave: Hull FC centre aims to put frustrating start to 2022 Super League season behind him

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Hull FC centre Carlos Tuimavave is aiming to put an injury-affected opening to the Betfred Super League season behind him after returning to the side over Easter; watch Hull FC take on Catalans Dragons live on Sky Sports Arena on Sunday from 6.30pm (6.45pm kick-off)

Last Updated: 23/04/22 11:02am

Carlos Tuimavave is back in the Hull FC side after an injury-affected start to 2022

By his own admission, the opening months of the 2022 Betfred Super League season have been a frustrating time for Carlos Tuimavave.

Up until the Easter weekend, the Hull FC centre’s only competitive appearance of the year had come in the Betfred Challenge Cup against Championship side Sheffield Eagles due to suffering a hamstring injury in the captain’s run ahead of the season-opener away to Wakefield Trinity and then a burst blood vessel in between his Achilles and calf muscle.

When he did eventually take to the field in Super League, it was for the Good Friday derby which saw the Black and Whites go down 16-4 away to cross-city rivals Hull Kingston Rovers, but things are now looking up for Tuimavave after helping his side to an 18-16 win over Warrington Wolves three days later.

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“It’s definitely been tough, especially the match fitness,” Tumavave said. “I still think I’m a little bit off the mark, so hopefully that will come soon.

“I think the last time I played 80 minutes was against Wakefield in the last round last year, so it has definitely been a long time. So hopefully I can get my match fitness back and be back to my best soon.

“It’s been a frustrating start to the year, personally. I had a few injuries I kept tweaking a bit – that was probably down to rushing back earlier than I should have been – but I’m just happy I’ve come through that period now and hopefully I can string some games together.”

One person who is certainly glad to have Tuimavave – currently in the second year of a four-year contract extension signed at the end of 2020 – back in action is Hull FC head coach Brett Hodgson, who has had to endure his own frustrations of chopping and changing the team due to injuries and suspensions throughout 2022 so far.

Highlights of Hull FC's clash with Warrington Wolves in the Betfred Super League

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Highlights of Hull FC’s clash with Warrington Wolves in the Betfred Super League

Highlights of Hull FC’s clash with Warrington Wolves in the Betfred Super League

It is not just the Samoa international’s ball carrying, vision and skills with the ball in hand, not to mention his defensive ability, which Hodgson is an admirer of though. It is also the mental lift he to the squad since returning to action.

“He’s brought a lot of confidence to the players around him,” Hodgson said. “I think every time he carries the ball, he’s able to beat his first man and create opportunities on the outside and he’s strong defensively.

“He’s been at the top of his game for a number of years and that’s why he’s a big part of our team. Whenever he’s in the squad, it makes us all a lot more confident.

“I’d be lying if I said we weren’t concerned about him getting through two games [in three days], but he put his hand up after the first one and said he was okay, which was pleasing.”

He’s been at the top of his game for a number of years and that’s why he’s a big part of our team. Whenever he’s in the squad, it makes us all a lot more confident.

Brett Hodgson on Carlos Tuimavave

Tuimavave, who carried for 149 metres with an average gain of nine metres and made two tackle busts in the win over Warrington, is just glad to be able to be back out on the field contributing after spending so much of the opening 10 rounds of the Super League regular season watching from the sidelines.

Although Hull FC sit among the play-off contenders heading into Sunday evening’s match at home to third-placed Catalans Dragons, live on Sky Sports, they have struggled to put together a consistent run of results and the Easter weekend was a microcosm of their campaign so far.

The 30-year-old makes no secret of the fact he finds it tough to watch however his team-mates are performing, preferring to be out on the pitch instead, although it has given him some insights into where he believes the Black and Whites can improve.

“I’m a tough watcher, more so because I wish I was out there with the boys,” Tuimavave said. “I definitely get more nervous watching them play, so I definitely prefer to be on the field than watching them in the stands.

Tuimavave has spent much of 2022 so far watching Hull FC from the sidelines

Tuimavave has spent much of 2022 so far watching Hull FC from the sidelines

“Watching from the sidelines, you get to see a bit more of what actually goes on, but when we’re playing nice and direct, I think that’s where we play our best footy.

“Sometimes we go into games and try to force the pass or score off the first set and that’s when we struggle.

“For us, it’s trying to have that composure and trying to lay a platform before we go wide and try to score points. for us, it’s trying to play direct, complete high and take it to teams through the middle first.”

That will undoubtedly have to be the case against a sizeable and powerful Catalans pack at MKM Stadium on Sunday. However, it will not just be a case of running up the middle, but getting the likes of Chris Satae, Manu Ma’u and Ligi Sao to utilise their ball-handling skills and offloading to open up the defence as well.

The manner of Hull FC’s win over Warrington in having to dig in before Ma’u popped up with the winning try in the closing stages has given the team a lift too and Tuimavave hopes that will stand them in good stead as they face last year’s League Leaders’ Shield winners and Grand Final runners-up.

“Especially playing Friday and backing up Monday, you’ll take the win any way you can,” Tuimavave said. “For us to grind out a win like that, you could just see after the game what it meant to the boys.

“Winning a game like that is probably better than beating a team by 40 or 50 points, so it was definitely a special game for us.”

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