Five things we learned from Wigan’s 14-10 win at Hull FC...
1. Sean O’Loughlin, take a bow.
He motored through the full 80 minutes and, when it was needed, produced the long pass for Liam Marshall to score the match-winner. The 35-year-old is usually spelled but Shaun Wane decided to keep him on the pitch for the full duration because he was “just outstanding”. O’Loughlin did have to pause, briefly... to put a dislocated finger back in place!
2. Wigan have had some exciting finishes this season. This was another one.
They trailed a seesawing game 10-8 when Sam Tomkins, in his 200th game, levelled the scores heading into the final 10 minutes - and then Liam Marshall jetted over for the match-winner.
Earlier, there had been several thrills and spills, breaks and half-chances - as well as a touch of needle - and among those to impress was George Williams, who showed signs he is getting back to his best
3. And so Wigan ended any premature talk of a ‘crisis’.
But, had they lost, it would have felt different to the three defeats which preceded it - there was more energy and desire.
As well as the two tries they scored, they had three ruled out. The win stretched their record at the KCom Stadium to 10 wins from 11 visits since 2010 - a win ratio which is comparable to their own form at home!
4. Wigan needed the win, as much for morale as for the league table.
Had they lost, Hull FC would have trailed by just two points - instead, there is now a six-point margin.
And the win prevented Castleford and Warrington from making up more ground on the second-placed Warriors.
This will also swell their confidence ahead of a testing run of fixtures against the Tigers - while missing three key players to international duty - Leeds, Warrington and St Helens.
5. A 5pm kick-off on Saturday, for a non-televised game... what’s that about?
But the unusual time-slot seemed to go down well, with many home fans either packing the pubs or making the most of activities at the neighbouring park in the build-up - and the away fans still got home at a decent hour.
Coach Lee Radford was all-class after the match, admitting his Hull FC side didn’t take their chances. While other coaches may have questioned the decisions of the referee, he blamed the decision-making of his playmakers.
Two-try winger Bureta Faraimo produced many of their highlights and they should still be able to mix-up the battle for top-four spots.