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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
David Craven

Hull FC's Danny Houghton adds another classic tackle to his growing list

Danny Houghton entered Hull folklore for his iconic ‘Tackle 52’ but has now added another classic to his highlights reel.

The legendary hooker even had a beer named after his famous last-gasp try-saving effort on Warrington’s Ben Currie which sealed Hull the 2016 Challenge Cup and a first-ever Wembley win. Rarely does a day go by where his lung-busting 52nd tackle of the game is not mentioned to him at some point. But ex-Man of Steel Houghton was at it again on Thursday night.

Leading 14-10 against leaders Wigan but under the pump, he produced an unlikely try-saver on one of Super League’s quickest stars - Bevan French. The Australian speedster had picked up a loose ball just near his own line and seen space open up in front of him. Normally, that ends with a Wigan try. But, in this instance, Houghton somehow managed to grab French just as the electric full-back was threatening to reach full pace in the 68th minute.

It proved a crucial moment as last season’s competition top try scorer went up against its top tackler. Hull, who had lost seven on the bounce before beating Huddersfield, dug deep and defended for their lives in the relentless rain to cling on for a rare back-to-back win. Houghton, who ironically made 52 tackles in the pulsating Super League clash, joked: “He fell over didn’t he?!

“I’d put the kick through and then I just looped around the back of it. Again, (like Tackle 52), it was just the right position, right time. Luckily, I gave myself a little bit of time as I didn’t want French to take me on the outside. He definitely would have burned me. I’m glad he came infield a little and I’m just glad I managed to clip him down.”

Houghton, who’s played more than 400 games for his hometown club, believes the victory shows Hull have turned a corner with their attitude. They came in for fierce criticism after some humiliating displays in their wretched losing run. The worst was when they were walloped 40-0 at home by derby rivals Hull KR on Good Friday.

Hull veteran Danny Houghton (Mick Atkins/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock)

But they have eased fears of being dragged into a relegation battle. And Houghton added; “That win showed the character that’s come to fruition. If it wasn’t me there (tackling French), I’m sure someone else would have been there to mop it up. We showed it all the way through the game. I think we were broken three or four times and we managed to scramble back and make a play of it. It’s the character we’re showing and that’s good. Everyone has got each other’s back.”

Ex-Leeds, Hull KR and England coach Tony Smith, in his first season after replacing axed Brett Hodgson, is starting to make his mark as he generally does at new clubs. They will seek a third successive win at bottom-placed Wakefield on Thursday. Houghton added: “All what Tony has wanted all the way through the off-season and in all the games, it just hadn’t clicked. But we’ve just not done the right things at the right times in games.

“The nail, though, is finally hammering in: we are starting to do what we’re capable of doing. It wasn’t pretty against Wigan. It wasn’t really pretty against Huddersfield. “But we’re just showing loads of character for each other and that endeavour gets you results. Whether you’re the best team in the comp’ or you’re not, you turn up with that sort of attitude and you give yourself a chance. There's things to fine tune but if we keep delivering like that, we’re not far away.”

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