WIGAN SPOIL HULL’S HOMECOMING

Wigan bounced back from a disappointing defeat to the hands of Widnes, by beating Challenge Cup winners, Hull FC 18-12 at the KC Stadium on Friday night. It was FC’s homecoming following their Challenge Cup victory over Warrington just 2 weeks ago. However, Wigan were in no mood to let them party, and looked to stretch their 7 game unbeaten run at the KC Stadium.

It was a poor opening 10 minutes to the game, as both sides littered the game with errors. However, against the run of play it was Wigan who took the lead. After an interception from Gelling to get Wigan up the field, George Williams scored an outstanding solo effort, after cutting inside. He left the Hull defence for dead, and left fullback Jamie Shaul no chance in the chase.

FC responded well, they started to push Wigan back and put the pressure on the Warriors. Wigan seemed to sit back in defence and allow Hull to come at them, which is a dangerous game to play. FC finally got over halfway through the first half when a clever grubber was finished off superbly in the corner by Talanoa. Hull were on top at this point and looked most likely to score next, which is exactly what they did. Their second try came from another kick as Sneyd found Michaels who captured the ball and found Fonua who went over in the corner. Sneyd would kick a penalty right on the hooter and send Hull 12-4 up at halftime.

GRIT, DETERMINATION AND EFFORT

Hull started the second half on the front foot and looked in great shape to add more points to their lead. However, in what was a strong 15-20 minute period for FC, they just couldn’t convert their chances. Wigan’s defence, like always, was solid. While they tend to sit back and allow teams to come at them, they close the gaps and slide across the line well to keep out teams. A fantastic 40/20 from Sneyd put Hull in more great field position, however nothing came from the passage of play.

They were made to pay around the hour mark as Sam Powell barged his way over from dummy half, right under the posts. It was a real soft try for FC to concede, after a great defensive set, and it was a try that sparked some life in the Warriors, which set-up a real storming final 15 minutes. Both sides were feeling the pressure in the closing moments as chances came and went in a blink of an eye. Players knocking on, big defensive efforts and everything else in between.

Wigan had a great chance with 4 minutes to go, however Dan Sarginson was barged into touch right neat the FC line and the game seemed to have slipped away from Wigan at this point. However, from the scrum, Anthony Gelling managed to win the ball back for the Warriors in a one-on-one ball steal and give Wigan one more big chance to win it. With 3 minutes to go, Taulima Tautai managed to stretch out his arm and plonk the ball down for what looked like a winner. Sneyd kicked out on the full from the kick-off and Wigan would go up the field and in the resulting set they earned a penalty bang in front of the posts. Smith took the kick at goal and sealed a fantastic 18-12 comeback for the Warriors.

IT’S ANYBODY’S TO WIN

With two games to go, the Play-Off Semi-Final teams are confirmed. Following tonights results, Warrington sit 1st on 41 points, Hull are 2nd on 38 points, Wigan are 3rd on 38 points and Saints are 4th on 36 points.

Warrington sit 3 points clear at the top of the league, and look almost certain to claim the League Leaders Shield. They have quietly just gone about their business in recent weeks, winning 4 League games on the spin, while teams around them have been dropping points against each other. Sandow is yet to come back for the Wolves and when he returns, it’d be tough to stop Warrington this year.

While Warrington are 3 points clear at the top, you’d be a brave man to say that Hull aren’t the form side in the league, despite losing their last 2 games. They have been the best side all season, deservingly winning the Challenge Cup two weeks ago, and still in with a feint shout of claiming top spot. They’re getting into he serious end of the season and it’ll be interesting to see how the go about their game.

Wigan somehow sit 3rd level on points with Hull FC. It’s incredible really that they are so high up in the table, after what has been a rather poor season from the Warriors. However, they had a great result tonight and with Warrington away to come next, if they can get a win there, maybe they could steal top spot. If they managed that, it would be absolutely incredible.

Saints looked dead and buried only a month or so ago, and looked set to miss out on the play-offs for the first time in their Super League history. However, following a fantastic run of form and a great unbeaten run, they put themselves right in the mix. Saints are a side, like Wigan, that you can just never back against. They know how to win the big games, and will have much more experience over Warrington and Hull.

POST-GAME MEDIA

Hull FC head coach Lee Radford told BBC Radio Humberside:

“We got what we deserved, this time of year you can’t dominate a side for 60 minutes and not execute your chances.

“For the last 10 minutes you can’t make errors like we did and win games of footy.

“We’ve got to fix our skill set up, the last 20 I don’t know what happened so I will have to look at the interchanges.

“The quicker we can stop mentioning the Challenge Cup the better.”

Credit to BBC Sport – http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-league/37287146

Wigan Warriors head coach Shaun Wane told BBC Radio Manchester:

“It was a very tough win. I’m really pleased with the desire we showed, the effort was 10/10, but smartness 2/10.

“To be honest I felt our defensive effort was fantastic, but our first attacking set was 11 minutes from half-time. If we’re smarter and get teams into an arm wrestle, go kick-for-kick, we can trouble teams.

“There are things we need to work on, I’m not going to get carried away but it was a great win against a fantastically coached team.

“Just to get the win today was a good effort. We’re in control [of our destiny], we’re tight in the dressing room and we have belief.”

Credit to BBC Sport – http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-league/37287146

IN THE SHEDS

Wigan’s John Bateman had to leave the field after being caught in the face by his own teammate, Sam Powell. Bateman returned to the game a little later, and finished it without any problems.

There were no other injuries to report from the game.

There were no incidents that would call for the RFL to take action.

FINAL SCORE

Hull FC: (12) 12

Tries: Talanoa, Fonua

Goals: Sneyd 2/3

Wigan Warriors: (4) 18

Tries: Williams, Powell, Tautai

Goals: Smith 3/4

MATCH DETAILS

Hull FC: Shaul; Michaels, Fonua, Yeaman, Talanoa; Tuimavave, Sneyd; Taylor, Houghton, Watts, Manu, Minichello, Ellis

Replacements: Pritchard, Bowden, Green, Hadley

Wigan Warriors: S.Tomkins; Charnley, Gelling, Sarginson, Tierney; Williams, Smith; Nuuausaala, Powell, Flower, Bateman, Farrell, Isa

Replacements: Crosby, Tautai, Sutton, Shorrocks

Referee: Ben Thaler

Attendance: 11,686

Venue: KC Lightstream Stadium

Date/Time: Friday 9th September 2016 – 20:00pm GMT