Hull FC season preview 2012

By Gwilym LloydRL Producer , BBC Radio Humberside
Kirk Yeaman
Hull top scorer Kirk Yeaman's 21 Super League tries in 2011 earned him an end-of-season international call for England in the Four Nations

It has been an interesting and controversial close season for Hull FC, with events off the field taking prominence over those on the paddock.

'Gleesongate' and cover-ups have hogged all the headlines but all of that will soon fade into the background when the new season starts.

And that cannot come soon enough for the new regime at the KC Stadium and the fans alike.

Former Hull City chairman Adam Pearson is now the sole owner of the club and, after quickly getting out the broom to sweep away most of the previous regime in double-quick time, he has signalled a new era for the Black and Whites.

Pearson has appointed a brand new coaching team, with Australian Peter Gentle heading up an organisation that includes former Castleford Tigers assistant Andy Hay and former FC player Lee Radford.

The close season has seen a revolution on the training ground.

Gentle embarks on his rookie season as a head coach after taking over in the hot seat from Richard Agar.

He comes in with a mandate to entertain the fans and play a more exciting brand of rugby league.

The former West Tigers assistant will also have a big shoulder to lean on, in the form of ex-Hull FC coach Shaun McRae, who, well rested following his mid-season departure from Salford, has returned as the club's new director of rugby.

The new coaching team's targets remain unspecified, but the play-offs and a higher place finish are a must, with fan expectation raised by the introduction of a completely new management structure.

There are plenty of fresh faces around as well with new players coming in.

Eamon O'Carroll, Aaron Heremaia, Wade McKinnon, Brett Seymour, Jamie Ellis, Andy Lynch and Martin Aspinwall are all new to the club. And, with so many new bodies around, Gentle has already admitted that the gelling process may not happen overnight.

The nuts and bolts of a strong attacking game are already there.

England internationals Tom Briscoe and Kirk Yeaman, who ran in 39 Super League tries between them in 2011, are a real force down the left hand side. And scoring points off a more expansive game plan should not be a problem.

Defensively, they need to do better than in past seasons and certainly, when it comes to putting games to bed, improvement can only lead to better rewards.

Some supporters are expecting a top-four finish and that is not an impossible ask but a top six conclusion is a more realistic target. And Gentle has not come in with a "dash-for-the-top" mentality.

It will be a season of work in progress and, as long as that progress happens, everyone at the KC Stadium will be more than happy.