New Hull coach Lee Radford can't afford any slip-ups, says Jon Wells

Last Updated: 01/10/13 12:48pm

New Hull coach Lee Radford will have to maintain the highest standards in his new role if the sacking of Peter Gentle is anything to go by, says Jon Wells.

Radford, 34, has signed a three-year deal after Gentle was axed with two years left on his contract following Hull's 76-18 loss to Huddersfield in the Super League play-offs.

"'You are only as good as your last game', I guess, is the piece of advice you would give to Lee."

Jon Wells

Hull owner Adam Pearson took the decision even though Gentle guided Hull to the Challenge Cup final at Wembley - a match they lost 16-0 to Wigan - and Wells told Boots 'n' All that Radford can't afford to take anything for granted.

"I am surprised that Gentle has been sacked," said Wells. "I think Hull have had a good year despite the last television match that we saw and the Cup final defeat.

"I think they've made giant strides on the field. They had a great set-up there - they've got a lot of youth coming through - but what they have got now, looking forward, is a coach who wears his heart on his sleeve.

"I know Lee from playing against him for a few years and it will be a tough and uncompromising pre-season, I would have thought, and it will be interesting to see how they start the season next year because he's tough, old-fashioned and he's not going to take any nonsense from anybody.

"The good thing is he's going to have the respect of the players; he's got the respect of a great deal of the population of Hull, as I understand, and we wish him all the best.

"The one thing he ought to keep in the back of his mind is that it's a hot seat; ultimately the result that seems to have cost Gentle his job was the drubbing that Huddersfield handed out to them a couple of weeks ago.

"'You are only as good as your last game', I guess, is the piece of advice you would give to him."

Empathy

Fellow Boots 'n' All guest Shaun McRae is coming to the end of his role as Director of Rugby at the Hull club.

A keen supporter of Gentle, McRae was instrumental in helping the Australian to get the coaching job in the first place and said that Pearson's decision caught him off guard.

"I'm a little surprised in as much as I thought the club was moving along the way that it was expected to," he reflected.

"There was a lot of change two years ago when Adam bought the club and there was a lot of investment, both in facilities and in staff, at the first-team level but also at youth level. A lot of money has gone into the Academy set up.

"So you get the feeling that the club is going along steadily.

"They got to a Wembley final this year; the performance wasn't good - I think that's probably an understatement - and the performance last week in the play-off game was certainly out of character.

"So I guess my disappointment comes from the fact that my loyalties are with the coach for two reasons - one, that I've become very good friends with Peter and two, I've been in that situation before and I've always had sympathy and empathy for what coaches have to go through.

"Adam has made a decision and he is the sole owner of the club - he is the only person who puts his own money into that organisation and he is entitled to make the decision and he is entitled to send the direction that he feels is best.

"I'm happy that I was kept out of that decision - I wasn't part of the decision at all - Adam purposefully kept me out of it because of my loyalty to Peter and because I've effectively left the club now."