Wigan Warriors 29 Hull FC 2: Five things we learned

Five things we learned from Wigan's 29-2 victory against Hull FC...

Friday, 20th November 2020, 11:29 am
Updated Friday, 20th November 2020, 11:30 am
Celebrations last night

1. And so the dream is still alive.

Former England captain Sean O'Loughlin will get the chance to bring down the curtain on his glorious career in the Super League Grand Final - albeit, at Hull and in front of no fans.

O'Loughlin, who turns 38 next Tuesday, returned to the side from a hamstring injury and showed touches of quality we've come to expect during a stellar 19-year career.

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It was his final appearance on the DW Stadium pitch as a player, and what a classy gesture it was from Hull FC to form a guard of honour at the end.

2. There was a major flashpoint midway through the first half.

Referee Chris Kendall penalised Hull centre Josh Griffin for patting Ollie Partington on the head as the Black and Whites were forced to forfeit a promising attacking position.

Wigan quickly made them pay, striking with two quickfire tries to take a 13-2 lead into half-time.

It was a key incident, though to suggest the game turned completely on one moment in 80 minutes would be a stretch, given the final scoreline and...

3. Wigan's performance was outstanding.

Composed, confident, aggressive, cool and - when the chances came - clinical.

Across the line-up they played like a side in-sync and hungry for success. Even the loss of Sam Powell didn't disrupt their rhythm - Jackson Hastings was outstanding in the dummy-half role, while Harry Smith's astute kicking gave them another option.

Hull weren't bad; they have individuals who took some stopping and when it was going their way, Jake Connor pulled the strings, but the game slipped from their grasp as Wigan moved through the gears.

And so they are now preparing for their first Grand Final under Adrian Lam and Wigan's seventh since 2010.

4. Bevan French was today awarded the Player of the Year award by the Rugby League Writers and Broadcasters Association.

You may disagree with the journalists during a season but they usually get this award right, and they didn't make any mistake this season. French has undoubtedly been the eye-catching player who has had the biggest impact on the season.

Against Hull, he not only showed fancy footwork and scorching pace - there were some nice passes, too, and a brilliant trysaving tackle to deny Marc Sneyd.

He has been shortlisted for the Steve Prescott Man of Steel on Monday evening.

5. On a disappointing note, prop Ben Flower limped off in his final game as a Wigan player at the DW Stadium.

The Welsh prop, thought to be heading to Leigh Centurions next season, suffered a hamstring injury in the 56th minute and took no further part. His place in the Grand Final is obviously in doubt.

If he is ruled out, it'll be a sad way for a great servant of the club to say farewell. And it would open the door for another forward, but who?

George Burgess and Liam Byrne missed out against Hull, but Lam will also have Joe Greenwood available again after he served a two match suspension.