From reading the forums and social media, it is clear that Hull FC fans are divided over their club's decision to get rid of Liam Watts. Some have hailed those behind the decision - whether it be owner Adam Pearson, boss Lee Radford or even the senior players within the squad - whilst others have bemoaned the loss of one of their most important players. Whilst Watts is likely to be a hit at his boyhood club Castleford Tigers, he leaves behind a large hole on Humberside. But, FC have a deep squad and enough talent to ensure that the impact of the loss will not be as great as the pessimists think.

Team and club unity

Interestingly, in the statement given by Lee Radford in which he explained the decision to allow Watts to leave, the former prop forward pointed out that the club had simply had enough of his behaviour on and - seemingly - off the field too.

“I would like to wish Liam all the best moving forward and hope he can find some consistency off the field to benefit his career in the future," Radford explained in the statement.

“We have some great, young, enthusiastic front rowers coming through at the club who appreciate our values and behaviours and they will benefit from more game-time.

To get rid of Watts was an incredibly brave decision to make by the club, but it is one which shows the togetherness of the club from the top to the bottom. Watts, in Radford's eyes, was undermining the club's core values and, regardless of how good he is, there is only so much a club can take before they have to do something about the said player. Rangi Chase, for example, was given multiple chances by Castleford before they finally cut ties with him in May 2017.

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It is likely too that senior players within the squad as well as Gareth Ellis - in his new role as football manager - had some kind of say. Only those players know what goes on in that dressing room on match days and too many times Watts has let his teammates down with ill-discipline on the field. Maybe his red card for a headbutt against Warrington was the last straw for the players too.

Ample reserves

Those Hull FC fans criticising the decision are somewhat justified. Watts is a brilliant player, and would arguably have been an England international by now if it wasn't for his shocking disciplinary record. Plus, the club have sold him to a top four rival. But, in the last twelve months, Watts has been suspended for a total of nine matches, three of which he is currently serving, while he has been cited by the Rugby Football League’s disciplinary panel for 18 separate incidents since last February. This quite obvious hotheadedness does not set a good example nor is it helpful to a club trying to win titles.

Whilst Watts is one of the best forwards in Super League, FC still have plenty of quality to fill the hole; the club might even delve into the transfer market. Following their money-spinning trip Down Under and the substantial fee Castleford have paid to acquire Watts' services, the club are in a great position to bring in someone that does - as Radford says - respect the values and behaviours of Hull FC.

Looking at the Hull FC squad and it is brimming with brilliance in the forward pack. Scott Taylor is in the form of his life whilst Mickey Paea has wasted no time in settling back in on Humberside. Youngsters Masi Matongo - whom has just recently signed a new three-year deal - and Brad Fash are exciting young individuals who seem tuned in to the ethics of the club already whilst Josh Bowden is impressing year-on-year.

Watts is key, but one man doesn't make a team

Make no mistake though, FC will miss his mobility and offload game; Watts is the only one within the FC team that attracts multiple defenders and looks to offload in every tackle which gives the Hull pack another dimension altogether. But, Hull will just have to change how they play - that's what champion sides do. And, after back-to-back Challenge Cup successes, there is no reason why one man should be the downfall of the club.

In exchange for talent, Hull have bolstered team unity. Plus, this is a massive statement by the club; no player - no matter how good they are - is bigger than the team itself. It’s an incredibly important message to send out to the Airlie Birds' budding youngsters and their current crop of players. Anybody within the squad or on the terraces who had previously doubted the club's professionalism have been sent a clear message - this is a club determined to stand by its morals.

Hull have a deep squad with high-quality professional and influential veterans and superb youngsters. Because of this, Hull are still in a great place to be challenging for silverware once more in 2018. #RugbyLeague #RL #HullFC