Hull FC produce season best performance to beat Wigan

Hull FC produced their best performance of the season to date to see off Wigan 31-22 for their sixth home win in a row.

Steadily making their home ground a fortress once again, Hull played some outstanding rugby league at times, but they also showed the tough side of their game when needed to see out a result that is absolutely massive in context of their season.

Winning for the eighth time in just thirteen league games this season, it’s a result that for now puts them comfortably inside the top six whilst also keeping tabs on fourth spot. Talk about not only ticking along but being in the mix too. That was a statement of intent. Hull were brilliant. Some of the attack was outstanding and some of the efforts yet again from a monstrous pack of forwards and set of agile outside backs were nothing short of phenomenal.

For Hull, it’s a big scalp too against a competition top gun and an opponent who have had the measure of them in the summer era. Hull wins against Wigan in Super League are rare to say the least, and when they happen, you have to enjoy them. The Hull fans certainly did that. They made themselves heard throughout the game and they got behind their team in what goes down as a huge, huge victory.

Some will play it down and say Wigan will have had one eye on the Challenge Cup final next week, but that’s not what Wigan are about. Wigan’s mentality doesn’t allow for that. They stick at it every week and they never go away. It’s embedded into them, it’s part of their culture, and it’s why they’ve been so successful.

Wigan showed all of those traits at Hull. They were blown away in the first half yet only found themselves six points down at half time, and despite Hull extending their lead again in the second half, the end margin was only nine points. That’s Wigan all over. Comfortably second best but still in the fight. As always.

As a rugby league fan you can only appreciate that. They stay in that grind every game and they made that second half a tough and at times brutal affair. It certainly wasn’t for the faint hearted, and after a first half that was all about open and expansive play, the second was a war of attrition. Hull never backed down from that either, and instead seemed to thrive off it despite being pegged back level at one stage.

Honestly, that game had everything. It was an absolute belter of a contest and so enjoyable to watch. Captivating throughout, that’s what Super League is all about, with its most creative player stepping up to deliver the goods for the black and whites yet again.

Roaming around at fullback, Jake Connor had one of those afternoons where he was pretty much untouchable. His passing was absolutely outstanding, finishing the day with five assists from Hull’s six tries, and taking his league tally to 22 for the season. He’s played twelve games. It’s absolutely ridiculous.

The talent at his disposal is nothing short of freakish, with Adam Swift again benefiting most from another outrageous pass. It was a pleasure to watch at times and Connor had Wigan on strings. He was brilliant and finished as the difference between the two sides. As you were.

That doesn’t take anything away from the Hull team display though. Connor was just special, but for Connor to be special there has to be a platform set from his forwards and yet again Hull’s pack was outstanding.

Ligi Sao was immense in the first half with Chris Satae and in particular Manu Ma’u carrying over their fine recent form. Jack Brown and Kane Evans also brought plenty to the table with Danny Houghton holding it all together.

On his 400th club appearance, Houghton put in his best performance in absolutely ages. He’s come in for a lot of criticism over the last couple of years but credit where credit is due. Houghton’s distribution was superb throughout and he also benefited from some quick rucks as Hull got a roll on from the word go.

In fact, Hull started the game like a house on fire. They rampaged downfield and hit Wigan three times with both of their wingers Swift and Darnell McIntosh finishing strong. Not only that, but both were also faultless under the high bomb and returned the ball hard in the backfield. In the centres Carlos Tuimavave and Connor Wynne had their moments too.

Wigan though are built of stern stuff and despite Hull’s early onslaught they never went away. They hit back twice in the first half and only went behind at the break 18-12. It seemed that Hull could and probably should have been further ahead given the course of play but again praise has to go to the opposition. Wigan are pass masters at it. It’s everything Brett Hodgson is trying to install into the Hull club and baring one defeat against St Helens in round two he’s got it. Regardless of the result Hull have been in the fight this year. It goes a long, long way.

Continuing the trend Wigan, who were their usual physical selves, hit level after the break as the sun went hiding and the globetrotter-like brand of rugby was swapped for the grind. The middle of the field was a tough place and both sides were brutal, getting to their kicks, flying off their line, and smashing their opposition. It made for an absorbing game and the crowd felt it. Hull stepped it up again though and the fact that they immediately took the lead again through Tuimavave speaks volumes about their own resilience and fight this year. They’re built of stern stuff too, and especially when you consider that they lost all of Sao, Tuimavave and Jordan Lane to knocks as well. 

That fight is so pleasing to see and Hull never let the tough moments faze them. Up against a quality opponent they were always going to come but they dealt with most of the adversity that came their way, before finally finishing Wigan off as Satae stormed over late on. Talk about character. 

It wasn’t a perfect performance though and despite it being a season best there is room for improvement. There were still some daft errors creeping into Hull’s play and some of the last tackle options from the two half backs Josh Reynolds and Luke Gale left a little to be desired.

But in what goes down as a fine victory that’s certainly nit picking. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Hull need to keep striving to be better and to never be content. They’re a good side though and they have some magnificent parts to their wheels.

And with Connor in that form and with the combinations getting more time on the field to gel together, who’s to tell how far they can go this year. The only way for Gale and Reynolds is up with the latter certainly putting in a shift at the very least.

That’s one thing you can never doubt about Hull this year. Their effort and endeavour has been first class. Here though their skill levels were equally as good, and if they continue to get that polish and craft in the opposition red zone then they’re going to be asking their opponents plenty of questions.

They can’t not when Connor is in that form. He’s unplayable. But there was much more to Hull than to just “chuck it to Connor” here and they showed just as much.

They were thoroughly deserved winners against Wigan, and despite the Warriors’ admirable fighting qualities, it’s Hull FC right now who people need to stand up and take notice to. What a win. 

Hull Starting XIII: 1. Jake Connor, 5. Darnell McIntosh, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 23. Connor Wynne, 2. Adam Swift, 6. Josh Reynolds, 7. Luke Gale, 8. Ligi Sao, 9. Danny Houghton, 16. Kane Evans, 13. Jordan Lane, 12. Manu Ma’u, 20. Jack Brown.

Interchange: 10. Chris Satae, 30. Scott Taylor, 14. Joe Lovodua, 4. Josh Griffin.

Hull Tries: Swift 2, McIntosh, Reynolds, Tuimavave, Satae. Goals: Gale 3/6. Drop Goal: Gale

Hull Sin Bin: Gale

Wigan Starting XIII: 23. Jai Field, 1. Bevan French, 4. Iain Thornley, 2. Jake Bibby, 5. Liam Marshall, 6. Cade Cust, 16. Harry Smith, 8. Brad Singleton, 28. Brad O’Neil, 20. Liam Bryne, 12. Liam Farrell, 13. John Bateman, 14. Morgan Smithies.

Interchange: 10. Patrick Mago, 17. Oliver Partington, 19. Ethan Havard, 22. Joe Shorrocks.

Wigan Tries: Bateman, Marshall, French, Farrell. Goals: Smith 3/4

Scoring System: 4-0 (Swift), 8-0 (McIntosh), 12-0 (Swift), 12-6 (Bateman), 18-6 (Reynolds), 18-12 (Marshall), Half Time, 18-18 (French), 24-18 (Tuimavave), 25-18, 25-22 (Farrell), 31-22 (Satae), Full Time.

Attendance: 11,496

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About Dan Tomlinson 1749 Articles
Editor of Up the Cream. Once upon a time I looked like my profile pic.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Dan
    Nice work throughout both articles. A immense afternoon. Wigan definitely xame to win. Had the goalkicks gone over it would have been 18 0 and not just 12 0. Psychologically it kept Wigan in the game… and yes it went to 12 6, after Hull had played brilliantly deserving of a greater lead in the first half . …
    The grit and determination was in abundance again as the penalty count pinned us back.
    The Luke Gale sin bin bordered on the ridiculous at the end.
    A most pleasant afternoon carried on!!

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