Hull FC 39 Wigan 26

Wigan's top-four hopes suffered another blow after a loss at Hull - their third defeat in 10 days.

Saturday, 3rd June 2017, 8:49 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:29 pm
Liam Farrell was playing his 200th game for Wigan

Tries by Liam Marshall and Lewis Tierney early in the second-half had cut the margin to 12-points and briefly threatened a comeback.

But Hull, who had established a 26-4 lead at the break, wrapped up the win before Joe Burgess and Tom Davies went over.

The sides each scored six tries but Hull’s superior kicking - Wigan converted only one of their conversions - proved decisive and, on the balance of play, there was no doubting the home side deserved the win.

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This was Shaun Wane’s first-ever defeat at the KCOM Stadium and, more pertinently, it stretched their run without a Super League victory to six games.

They now head to Leigh on Thursday knowing they need to pick up points if they are to keep within touching distance of the five sides above them - and avoid being dragged into a battle to avoid the bottom-four before the season splits after round 23 for the Super-8s phase.

Tom Davies scored the Warriors’ only try in a first-half in which they sorely lacked energy, ideas and discipline. Indeed, the visitors had to wait until the 53rd minute for their first penalty, by that stage they had conceded 10.

Wigan picked up from that point and showed some spirit, scoring five-tries-to-two, but the damage had been done.

Wane had won all his previous seven games at this venue - including a 2010 match as caretaker coach. Joel Tomkins and Joe Burgess returned to the side beaten 42-30 by Wakefield on Monday but captain Sean O’Loughlin withdrew with a tight hamstring. Wane was still without a clutch of long-term absentees.

But Hull FC had injury worries of their own, with Mark Sneyd, Mahe Fonua, Scott Taylor, Gareth Ellis and Liam Watts among their absentees.

Indeed, Wigan’s bench - with Tomkins, Sam Powell and Taulima Tautai alongside youngster Callum Field - had more experience than the home side’s replacements.

The visitors went into the game as the bookmakers’ slight favourites. But when Thomas Leuluai fumbled at dummy-half in the opening moments, it was an early red flag.

They coughed and spluttered their way through until half-time, Tom Davies’ try a rare bright spot in a lethargic, rudderless and defensively soft display.

Hull racked up four tries before Wigan got off the mark. Albert Kelly was afforded far too much time to send Steve Michaels clear in the corner for his first.

After Wigan faield to clear up a high kick, Mark Minichiello celebrated his new one-year deal by barging through a disjointed line. Jake Connor missed his second conversion attempt, but was awarded a penalty in front of the sticks - Lewis Tierney punished for trying to strike at the ball with his feet as the forward crossed.

Wigan were being choked of possession, and when they did touch the ball, Farrell’s break led to Davies rushing for the line, only to be ushered into touch.

Wane said they had worked all week on their defence, but it proved leaky again as Michaels collected a looping pass from dummy-half, and Connor’s conversion make it 16-0.

Things went from bad to worse, Tierney’s kick-off sailing out, the resulting penalty putting them under immediate pressure, and then another penalty - for interference at the play-the-ball - giving Connor the simple task of poking Hull into an 18-0 lead.

Danny Washbrook inflicted further damage, angling onto Danny Houghton’s pass and - after the try was awarded - Farrell was sinbinned for dissent in his 200th game for the club.

Trailing 24-0, and down a man, Wigan managed to reduce the deficit before the break. After Marshall had a try chalked off by the video referee, they finally got on the scoreboard when Burgess intercepted close to his line and raced away. He was hunted down, but the ball was swung to the right wing where Davies crossed.

Marshall missed the conversion.

And on the stroke of half-time, Willie Isa scuffled with Minichiello to concede a penalty - when in possession - and Connor kicked Hull into a 26-4 lead.

With Wane’s half-time instructions still ringing in their ears, Wigan dialled up the tempo from the restart.

Their quick play-the balls helped bring George Williams into the game. His pass bounced fortunately for Marshall, who rounded the defence and wrong-footed Jamie Shaul to cut the deficit to 26-8.

And for a spell, from that point, Wigan had the better of the position, limiting their hosts to breakaway threats. Their attack looked panicky, but they kept the ball alive, Farrell rushed through an inviting gap and twisted in the tackle to send the supporting Tierney over. Marshall’s conversion cut the gap to 12-points.

But hopes of a comeback were quickly extinguished, Hull’s scrappy attack finishing with some individual brilliance from Shaul, who regathered his own chip and grounded the ball before crashing over the touch-in-goal. Nick Rawsthorne took over the goal-kicking duties and nailed his attempt, making it 32-14 entering the final quarter.

Kelly’s long-range effort - and a later drop-goal - rubbed salt into the proverbial wounds, though Wigan were able to conjure a response between those scores, Williams poking the ball through for Burgess to touchdown. Marshall had the final say when he darted over from dummy-half.

Hull FC: Shaul; Michaels, Talanoa, Tuimavave, Rawsthorne; Kelly, Connor; Green, Houghton, Thompson, Washbrook, Minichiello, Manu. Subs: Turgut, Downs, Fash, Matongo.

Wigan: Tierney; Davies, Forsyth, Burgess, Marshall; Williams, Leuluai; Nuuausala, McIlorum, Sutton, Wells, Farrell, Isa. Subs: Tomkins, Powell, Tautai, Field.

Attendance: 10,333

Half-time: 26-4