Hull FC overpowered Wigan by 20 points to 10 to reach the Challenge Cup semi-final for the fourth time in six seasons.
The magnificent Chris Satae scored twice, with Adam Swift rounding the win off with a late breakaway try on Saturday afternoon.
Here is Up the Cream’s Five Things column.
1.. The rise of the Airlie Bird
Take a bow Hull FC, who have rediscovered their mental toughness and rid themselves of their soft underbelly to become a force to be reckoned with once again.
Hull under Brett Hodgson will be a contender this year because their attitude and mentality demands it.
That’s two tough battles in two weeks against Wigan, the absolute masters of grinding out games regardless of performance level, where Hull have rattled them with their defensive intensity, but this time they got the result to go with it.
Brett Hodgson’s side are still the apprentice, but the progress is staggering.
In no time at all the Aussie head coach has turned a side that was beaten regularly into one that is defensively sound, resilient, and a bloody nuisance to play against.
Those are the qualities that bring silverware home, and the team unity is telling. Whilst nothing is a given, the very least we’ll get this year is a Hull FC side that will fight to the very end.
They’re definitely going places and we can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.
2.. No room for a big guy – think again!
It’s been a while since we saw a Hull prop dominant an opposition pack like that, and a Wigan one too. Chris Satae. What a display.
The big Tongan was good at the Pie Dome last week, but here he was absolutely immense. He was a wrecking ball and Wigan just couldn’t handle him.
His two tries showcased his power, and whilst they were both huge moments that swayed the game Hull’s way, it was his carries in yardage too that set the platform for a Hull side who never struggled to rampage downfield.
Satae, like he has been all season, was just class. His impact was huge, winning the floor, putting the opposition on their backsides and being strong in the tackle too.
Rugby League with its set restarts and whipper snappers is all about speed these days, but there’s still plenty of room for the big fella, and especially while this sort is in Black and White. A magnificent performance.
3.. We roam the range together
The racism by Tony Clubb towards Andre Savelio and the absolute cop out of a punishment by the RFL dominated the pre-match build up, but the stance that the Hull side took showcased their unity.
Instead of lining up for the RFL’s empty gesture towards racism, Hull huddled up for the thirteen seconds before going to their places for kick off.
Talk about standing together. A band of brothers and it shows on the field.
Closer than ever before, Hull are working for each other and they’re getting the same buzz from forcing an error as they do when scoring a try.
The defensive drum has been banged all year and this side can now handle the pressure and intimidate their opposition. They are tough and they are fearless. And as for Savelio. What a bloke. He’s been a credit to the club with the way he has conducted himself for months on end now. A top player and person.
4.. Swift by name, Swift by nature
You can’t beat a good underdog story and after the year Adam Swift had in 2020, his rise this season is certainly that.
Swift had a nightmare last year. He only made five appearances and he had personal issues too, but under Hodgson he hasn’t looked back.
The former St Helens winger come fullback has been excellent. Stepping in for the suspended Jake Connor he didn’t put a foot wrong. He was faultless and the best thing about his display (despite the energy in every carry and the confidence in taking every high bomb) was how much he enjoyed it.
Swift is a player bang in form and he deserves every bit of credit he gets. Absolutely loved watching him sprint home for his try that finally wrapped up the game, and being a Saints lad up against Wigan, you just know he’d have loved it just as much.
5.. You can’t buy class
It’s easy to hate Wigan. They’ve won more Challenge Cups than anyone else and they’ve won the most Super League titles over the past decade too. Their systems and their processes are the benchmark for all to aspire to and they’re in the thick of the action year on year. It’s a testament to the whole club.
They’ve lost a bit of that respect this week though. First the Tony Clubb racism stuff, now Adrian Lam moaning like a bitch in his post-match interview. Not that we really care, but no credit was given to Hull for their aggression and the defensive pressure they put on Wigan, and instead Lam ripped into his sides ‘uncharacteristic’ errors.
Why mention it then? Well compare his comments to those of Brett Hodgson who praised Wigan in defeat last week and still mentioned how good of an opponent they were in victory this week, all whilst remaining proud of his players’ effort in what turned out to be two brutal defensively orientated games, and there’s a huge difference.
Whether Hull win, draw or get beat, everything Hodgson says is full of class. The improvements are telling and his impact on the Hull team has been nothing short of incredible, but clearly he prides himself on his values as well. Not many fans have met him yet, but he seems to be a top bloke and with him at the helm, the only way is up.