Wigan 24 Hull FC 10

Liam Marshall scored two tries
Liam Marshall scored two tries
Share this article

Liam Marshall’s early dazzling double helped Wigan win their historic clash in Australia.

They found a home from home at Wollongong’s Win stadium, with a crowd of 12,416 turning out to watch the first Super League game outside of Europe.

Shaun Wane’s side were deserved winners but Hull FC - who lost two players to injury - proved dogged opposition, preventing the Warriors from cutting loose.

Wigan took the game Down Under to raise both money and the profile of Super League, and the immediate indications are it was a success, even if the contest was scrappy in the humid conditions.

Between the errors, the Warriors showed some passages of quality. George Williams was the ring-master, teasing and tormenting Hull FC with his footwork and skills.

But having established a 12-10 lead at the break, they needed two efforts down the middle to secure the result.

“I don’t think we were great,” admitted Wane. “We did some good things but we lacked some composure.

“I’m very happy with the win - but we won’t be celebrating too much.”

Sean O’Loughlin’s return squeezed Frank-Paul Nuuausala - an ever-present last year - out of the reckoning in the only change to the squad which beat Salford 40-12 on the opening night.

Hull FC also won their first game and with two points up for grabs - as well as the Kenny-Sterling shield - fans turned up or tuned in expecting a tense game.

With the spotlight on them, and Super League, they also hoped for an entertaining encounter, and in strange way the errors and missed-chances added to the excitement.

The game began at a ferocious pace with Hull’s rushing defence pinning the Warriors back. But Lee Radford’s men lost winger Bureta Faraimo early on, and their opponents rapidly punished that edge twice to take a 10-0 lead.

Marshall, second in the Super League try-scoring charts last year, blazed away in the fourth minute after smart link-up play by Williams and Liam Farrell in the build-up. Sam Tomkins tagged on the goal to make it 6-0.

And seven minutes later, Marshall - preferred to fit-again Joe Burgess - showed great acceleration to cross again.

In between, there were some sloppy errors, an embarrassing mix-up between Jake Connor and Jamie Shaul and plenty of penalties from Australian referee Matt Cecchin.

But with the spills, there were thrills, and in the 24th minute FC winger Fetuli Talanoa did exceptionally well to ground in the corner under pressure from Tom Davies. Marc Sneyd missed the conversion.

Wigan dominated but they squandered three golden opportunities to extend their lead - two from wrong pass options on the left side sandwiching a selfish attempt by Dan Sarginson.

And those missed-chances came back to haunt them moments later when a mix-up by Morgan Escare and Marshall handed Jordan Abdull the simple task of touching down after lengthy deliberation by the video referee.

Marc Sneyd’s conversion locked the scores 10-10, but Sam Tomkins poked them two points ahead just before the break.

O’Loughlin’s return from a spell on the bench added some composure, and Ryan Sutton thundered over for a converted try which wedged open an eight-point gap.

But as the energy levels faded, unforced errors and penalties continued to spoil the spectacle, and prevent Wigan from killing off the game.

Hull worked tirelessly to overcome the loss of captain Danny Houghton and Faraimo, until the outstanding prop Ben Flower muscled over. Tomkins’ goal made it 24-10 with 10 minutes to go.

The full-back-turned-halfback was sinbinned, along with Josh Griffin, for a scuffle during an entertaining finish which included Sarginson having a try ruled out by the video referee.

Wigan: S Tomkins; Davies, Sarginson, Gildart, Marshall; Williams, Powell; Clubb, Leuluai, Flower, J Tomkins, Farrell, O’Loughlin. Subs: Sutton, Tautai, Isa, Escare

Hull FC: Shaul; Faraimo, Connor, Griffin, Talanoa; Kelly, Sneyd; Taylor, Houghton, Paea, Manu, Minichiello, Hadley. Subs: Abdull, Bowden, Watts, Washbrook.

Referee: Matt Cecchin

Half-time: 12-10

Attendance: 12,416