Hull FC 12 Wigan Warriors 48

Matty Smith in action for Wigan
Matty Smith in action for Wigan

WIGAN will head into the Super-8s in confident mood after a comfortable victory against Hull FC.

Sean O’Loughlin scored his first-ever try against Hull FC, Matty Bowen grabbed a double and Joe Burgess extended his lead at the top of the Super League try-scoring charts to 21 in a comprehensive win.

Shaun Wane has now won all five of his matches at the KC Stadium - including a debut in charge, deputising for Michael Maguire in 2010 - and may have been particularly pleased that some new attacking variations paid off.

He said he wanted to send out a marker to their title rivals, and the magnitude of this victory did that - but they were made to look even better by a hapless Hull FC.

This win pushed Wigan up to second spot in the table, but they will slip back to third if St Helens beat Hull KR.

By half-time the Warriors were well on their way to registering only their fourth game on their travels this year - following victories at Wakefield, Huddersfield and the Magic Weekend.

Burgess gave an early indication of what was to follow when his poise and pace opened up a chance down the left channel but, when the ball was spread to the right, John Bateman’s charge was halted for a forward back.

But the deadlock was soon broken. Anthony Gelling released the ball in a tackle and Burgess screamed down field, blazing away from the cover. Matty Smith added the conversion.

And after a mazy run by halfback partner George Williams, Smith showed great awareness at dummy-half to float a kick over to the right corner, where Josh Charnley palmed the ball back to Bateman for their second try, making it 12-0.

Richard Whiting dashed through without a finger being laid on him to get the home side off the mark - he was eased down field by successive penalties - but the rest of the first-half belonged to Wigan, who registered two more tries without reply.

Bowen stabbed a kick through, Gelling punted the ball on and Sam Powell collected to make it 18-6.

Gelling, usually a right centre, looked comfortable on the left and was alert to thwart an FC half-chance on the half-hour.

Hull FC - missing Gareth Ellis and Leon Pryce - were struggling to contain Wigan’s more aggressive, coherent and dominant performance.

And before the break George Williams scooped up a loose pass from Joe Westerman, and the No.6 had the pace to burn beyond a soft defence and dash between the sticks.

Smith hit the conversion but missed with a difficult penalty on the stroke of half-time.

Wigan refused to ease up in the second-half, as Bowen scored from a training ground move - courtesy of a great link-up with Joel Toel Tomkins - to swell their lead to 30-6.

O’Loughlin has waited a long time for his first try against Hull and, when it came, it was all too easy as a step opened up the soft FC line.

Some forward passes and sloppy play conspired against Wigan as the game entered the final quarter, allowing Westerman to claw a try back for the home side.

But Bowen’s footwork carved out a second try - and strengthened his case for a Super League deal elsewhere - to push the scoreline out to 42-12, before Dom Crosby punished a tiring defence.

Hull FC: Rankin; Lineham, Talanoa, Logan, Michaels; Abdull, Sneyd; Paea, Houghton, Watts, Minichiello, Whiting, Westerman. Subs: Green, Thompson, Bowden, Hadley.

Wigan: Bowen; Charnley, Gelling, Bateman, Burgess; Williams, Smith; Crosby, McIlorum, Flower, Tomkins, Farrell, O’Loughlin. Subs: Powell, Clubb, Tautai, Sutton.