It’s over – hallelujah. After a record run of Super League defeats, Hull FC finally pulled the curtain down on the 2018 season, losing their eleventh game in a row as Wigan pulled out a scrappy 14-12 win.
Ugly was the way Shaun Wane described it post-match, and he wasn’t talking about his own personal looks. It wasn’t a good spectacle. After a tedious pre-match build up of keeping ‘momentum’, Wigan went through the motions and like we’ve seen throughout the past few weeks the longer the game endured, the worse Hull got. They had a dig, a real effort and you can appreciate that given the circumstances, but there was some poor and frustrating moments from a Black and Whites point of view, like Oliver Gildart scooting past three Hull players to score, or Brad Fash passing the ball from a scum play twenty or so yards backwards. It was a game the visitors really should have won, and that would have been some victory, but in reality it’s another that got away, and that’s been a familiar story recently.
Quality has severely been lacking over the past three months and that’s not a surprise given the personnel missing. Injuries are infamous with this club this year and of course they’ve had an effect. But they don’t excuse everything. We won’t stick the boot in too much, as some of Hull FC’s defensive resolve was admirable, especially since Wigan had a large chunk of possession go in their favour, and to take a half time lead into the sheds was really commendable. However, to see poor last tackle options, questionable plays, and general dumb rugby follow in the second half was disappointing. We can say it again. It’s a game Hull should have won. Wigan were passengers for most of it and that’s expected as they focus on their upcoming play-off game next week. But for the sake of positivity, Hull never rolled over, and they were always in the contest. That’s probably more than most fans expected.
As usual the Black and Whites were backed by their hardcore contingent of supporters, the same fans that have followed the club through thick and thin this year, and the same faces you saw in Wollongong, Newcastle, Widnes and across here at Wigan. Most of those would have wished the game was played, like in February, at the coastal New South Wales city, given the rancid M62 car park and undesirable location of the Pie Dome. We don’t always get what we want though, quite the opposite, with another tedious Friday night trip over the Pennines. From Hull it’s a nightmare, but Rugby League never learns. Let’s go back to Australia yeah?
Going back to Wigan, and on return from a late night visit to Pizza Hut, it was great to chat to three Wiganers to talk rugby. On their part, the infamous Tomkins brother bar incident left chairman Ian Lenegan more red faced that the Cherry on Wigan’s playing jersey. He wanted both brothers sacked. Shaun Wane didn’t. Lenegan got his wish. Well sort of. One went to Wovers. The other is going to Catalans next season. But Wane is going too. To Scottish rugby union. What a loss. And talk about integrity. They’ve signed Zak Hardaker, which if you read the news this week, shows the biggest dose of contradiction since the Leave campaign said they’d pump money into the NHS.
But back to shenanigans of Friday night, and there were some decent moments for Hull, especially in the first half. Jake Connor was, alongside his winding up antics, a class act, first to flick back a high kick to put Carlos Tuimavave over, and then produce a sublime little kick for Jamie Shaul to score. They were two moments of genuine quality. Sarginson tried his best too to get under Connor’s skin, but in reality the most concerning moment for the fiery playmaker was his reluctance to sprint away after an interception. Did he genuinely think his winger was in a better position, or was he cautious of tweaking that hamstring? As far as England selection goes there can’t be any symptoms of the latter, otherwise he won’t be featuring against New Zealand in the Autumn, and from a selfish Hull point of view that’s not necessary, hypothetically speaking, a bad thing.
Catching the eye, Jamie Shaul was also impressive, with just one moment letting him down, and that was an opportunity missed to put Fetuli Talanoa, who it must be said didn’t follow on last weeks promising performance, over in the corner. All be it though Shaul’s effort was great again. He’s never thrown the towel in, which is more than can be said for some of his peers. The fullback made two excellent breaks and was defensively resolute as well – it’s just the lack of a pivot side to his game that holds him back. Elsewhere Cameron Scott was very good. The teenage centre really stood up and that was his best display of the season. Danny Houghton enjoyed spells in both his hooking and laterally middle roles. The latter really offers Hull something different and it’s exciting to see what he could do with the likes of Albert Kelly and Marc Sneyd alongside him next season. One things for sure our shape would be a lot better, and more easily spread out. Special mention to Hakim Miloudi too who’s energy and enthusiasm is just a breath of fresh air. French madhouse.
However there’s no getting away from the current frustrations of Hull’s play. They never looked like scoring in the second half. Opportunity to do so was sparse, which made it that little bit more frustrating when cheap ball was given up. But to end on a high note this really was a fair crack, as mentioned some areas of the display were annoying, but it was much better than in recent defeats – that goes without saying.
We actually saw some of the traits that have made this Hull team so successful under the Radford regime. They didn’t crack, despite a whole host of missing players and possession against them, and a mess up of, given injuries to Scott and Tuimavave, the interchange, and that’s worthy of praise. It’s not an encounter we’ll all necessary remember, Gabe Hamlin, Sarginson and Gildart tries saw to that, but it’s not one we’ll remember as a humiliation, and to be honest, a few of us pessimists thought that would be the case. In any Kind of Weather. Radford in. Roll on 2019.
Wigan Starting XIII: 20. Morgan Escare, 21. Dominic Manfredi, 4. Oliver Gildart, 3. Dan Sarginson, 2. Tom Davies, 6. George Williams, 34. Josh Woods, 15. Ryan Sutton, 7. Sam Powell, 25. Romain Navarrete, 14. John Bateman, 40. Joe Greenwood, 8. Tony Clubb. Interchange: 30. Gabe Hamlin, 12. Liam Farrell, 38. Craig Mullen. 17. Taulima Tautai.
Wigan Tries: Hamlin, Sarginson, Gildart. Goals: Woods 1/3
Hull Starting XIII: 1. Jamie Shaul, 2. Bureta Faraimo, 3. Carlos Tuimavave, 30. Cameron Scott, 5. Fetuli Talanoa, 14. Jake Connor, 16. Jordan Abdull, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 29. Masimbaashe Matongo, 17. Danny Washbrook, 4. Josh Griffin, 20. Brad Fash. Interchange: 23. Mickey Paea, 36. Lewis Bienek, 22. Jez Litten, 28. Hakim Miloudi.
Hull Tries: Tuimavave, Shaul. Goals: Connor 2/2
Hull 3-2-1 Man of the Match: 3pts Jamie Shaul, 2pts Jake Connor, 1pt Cameron Scott
Scoring System: 0-6, 0-12, 6-12, 10-12, 14-12
Referee: Liam Moore – Unfashionable these days to question referees but he was really poor.
Got your copy yet? See our online shop here