Hull FC got their first win in four attempts, after beating the Wigan Warriors 39-26 on a sunny evening at the KCOM Stadium. Wigan made an horrendous start to the game, going 24-0 down after 30 minutes. A short-lived fightback began in the second half, but it was too little, too late for Shaun Wane and his players.
HULL STEAMROLL WIGAN
Both sides were struggling going into this one, with both not winning in their last three league games. It was a huge game, not only for league position, but also confidence and self-belief amongst the camps. It was Hull who got off to a flying start as Steve Michaels scored the game’s first try after just three minute. Without Marc Sneyd, and Wigan with no regular kicker, you sensed there could be a lot of missed conversions.
Jake Connors took the kicking duties and got off to a poor start, as he missed the opening conversion, and Hull led 4-0. Wigan couldn’t get into the game, and FC where storming their way down field on each attack. They were rewarded with their second try through Mark Minichiello, which was given as a penalty-try. Connors missed the first conversion, then kicked the second one in front of the sticks to extend their lead to 10-0.
The game went quiet for a bit, but Hull where still in full control, and I don’t remember a time where Wigan looked threatening in the opening 30 minutes or so. Hull would score another two tries within eight minutes through Michaels and Danny Houghton. These were on either side of a Connors penalty-goal, which gave FC a 24-0 lead after just 30 minutes. Wigan were in serious trouble, with no signs of turning the game around.
POOR DISCIPLINE AND LACK OF ENERGY
It was a real poor first half from Wigan, one of the worst opening forties they’ve played in a very long time. There seemed to be NO desire, no passion and no real effort from the players. It was a very tired, and lacklustre performance. I know they’ve had to play three games in the space of eight days, but you still expect more. Hull had to fly over to France, play a game, fly back and play Wigan. Yet they seemed in great spirits.
Shaun Wane was quick to point out that they were way off the pace in the first half, and it really wasn’t acceptable. The most disappointing thing from a Wigan perspective would’ve been the defending. Wigan are a team who tries to build themselves off their defence, and they’re proud of it. However, yesterday it was just pathetic at times. What didn’t help them throughout the game, was their poor discipline.
At one stage, the penalty count was 10-0 in FC’s favour, that is just not good enough. It also shows how much ball both sides had in the opening forty. The final count was 12-4 in Hull’s favour, and on an already poor afternoon for Wigan, the soft penalties they were giving away, in the worst possible places, didn’t help them at all. Liam Farrell would be sin-binned in the 29th minute following a bit of back-chat to referee, Phil Bentham.
Wigan would score their first try of the game in the 36th minute through Tom Davies. However, as was the story of the afternoon, Wigan missed the conversion attempt, as they still trailed 24-4. Right on the hooter, Connors would kick a penalty-goal to send Hull 26-4 up at halftime. They were good for their lead, and Wigan was having a real sour afternoon, with no signs of it turning around.
However, Wigan came out positive in the second half and started to play much better rugby, both in attack and defence. Wigan would score two tries in the opening 15 minutes of the second half through Liam Marshall and a sublime team try that was finished off from Lewis Tierney. Marshall converted one of the tries, and Wigan now trailed 26-14 with still 25 minutes to go. There was a little bit of hope for the Warriors and their fans.
However, following a great start to the half, FC would end all hope of a comeback as they scored two tries through Jamie Shaul and Albert Kelly to extend their lead to 38-14 with around 14 minutes to go. Wigan managed to score three tires in the last 10 minutes through Joe Burgess, Liam Marshall and Tom Davies to make the scoreboard look a little better. Kelly kicked a drop-goal in the middle of those tries as Hull finished up 39-26 winners.
WORRYING TIMES FOR SHAUN WANE
There are some very important fixtures coming up for Wigan. They have Leigh, Huddersfield, Widnes, Catalan, Warrington and Leeds left to play in the league. They’re six Cup Finals in my opinion, and six games they must win. I don’t believe Wigan will drop into the bottom four, that’s not a worry in my mind. It’s missing out of the play-offs. While there are another seven games to come in the Super 8s, they don’t want to be too far off.
They’re currently sixth, and sit five points off fourth placed Hull FC, and four points clear of ninth placed Warrington, with Wire having a game in hand. Their next five games are against sides who are currently below them in the league, so they can’t take points off anyone else above them for the next few weeks. They really need to start winning, the performance becomes secondary at this stage of the season.
In the next couple of weeks, they should be getting Oliver Gildart, Anthony Gelling, John Bateman and Sam Tomkins back in the squad, which can only boost them. If Wigan are close to the top four going into the Super 8s, and get these players back, I really believe they can finish in the paly-offs come the end of the season. There are still 13 games ahead, but they must finish the season strong, and win all six games.
Hull FC coach Lee Radford:
“This is the most pleasing win of the season because of the circumstances for both teams. It’s been an unbelievably difficult period that didn’t need to happen.
“The schedule was made for an England camp that never came about. I understand the RFL defending the situation, but if you’re not prepared to admit to making mistakes you’re never going to right the wrongs.
“I read an article that said Super League coaches should stop moaning about their players. I go to meetings and listen for an hour about player welfare and how depressed they are and how we need to keep them happy.
“There was no thought for player welfare there in that game. That was two reserve teams running on empty but we’ll be better for it. But some acknowledgement has to be made that mistakes have been made. Today’s game would have been cancelled had it not been for players being jabbed up.”
Wigan Warriors coach Shaun Wane:
“They were the best team. We were miles off. We were too loose and gave too many penalties away.
“We need to get back to good defence. It was a poor and soft start and we gave ourselves too much to do.
“We scored some tries in the second half but it wasn’t enough as we were out-muscled. We had too much defence to do and we have a lot to learn.
“We’re a confident bunch but we’re low on gas. Hull are the same with injures but they coped better.”
IN THE SHEDS
Wigan Warriors lost Thomas Leuluai in the 15th minute following a head knock. He returned after the head test.
They also lost Sam Powell in the 43rd minute due to a head knock, the player did not return.
Hull FC lost Jake Connors in the 57th minute, the player later returned.
Willie Isa and Liam Farrell were both involved in incidents during the game, and are the only players who may face action by the RFL next week.
Hull FC: (26) 39
Tries: Michaels 2, Minichiello, Houghton, Shaul, Kelly
Conversions: Connor 2/4, Rawsthorne 2/2
Penalties: Connor 3/3
Drop-goal: Kelly 1/1
Wigan Warriors: (4) 26
Tries: Davies 2, Marshall 2, Tierney, Burgess
Conversions: Marshall 1/6
Hull FC: Shaul; Michaels, Talanoa, Tuimavave, Rawsthorne; Kelly, Connor; Green, Houghton, Thompson, Washbrook, Minichiello, Manu.
Interchanges: Fash, Downs, Turgut, Matongo.
Wigan Warriors: Tierney; Davies, Forsyth, Burgess, Marshall; Williams, Leuluai; Nuuausala, McIlorum, Sutton, Wells, Farrell, Isa.
Interchanges J Tomkins, Powell, Tautai, Field.
Sin Bin: Farrell (29th minute).
Referee: Phil Bentham
Venue: KCOM Stadium, Hull
Date/Time: Saturday 3rd June 2017 – 17:00pm GMT