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2003 Match Preview: Hull (A)
Hull FC Match Preview. Posted on Thursday, April 03 2003 @ 23:04:42 BST by Bilko
Wigan travel to the Kingston Communications Stadium for the first time on Friday Night looking to bounce back following the London defeat.

Hull FC v Wigan Warriors Tetley's Super League VIII Round 5
Friday 4th April 2003. Kick Off 8:00pm at Kingston Communications Stadium.
Match Introduction
The start of this crucial crunch month see's Wigan travel to Hull FC's brand new Kingston Communications Stadium for the first time.

Hull left the humble run down Boulevard at the end of last season for the new 25,000 all seater KC Stadium which was built at a cost of £44 million.

The ground is designed as a single tier, asymmetrical bowl of approximately 20,000 seats with a second upper tier to the West Stand of a further 5,000 seats. Hull share the ground with football neighbours Hull City.

I'm not one for seeing old traditional grounds being replaced with traditional all seater stadiums but in Hull's case I'll make an exception.

I never liked the Boulevard due to the lack of roofs at either end of the ground but this new ground does looks fantastic. You can't really judge until you witness it in person though, so get over to Hull support the lads and judge for yourself!

Hull have organised some pre match entertainment which begins at 7:25.They also have a fireworks display straight after the full-time hooter so don’t leave early!

.You know it say's a lot about how tough as schedule of fixtures we have in the next month when on paper this trip to Hull is probably the easiest. It will be far from easy though. Especially if we don't tighten up our defence. 

Coach Stuart Raper knows defence is the key.

He said: "Our defensive record is absolutely terrible.

"We had the best defensive record in the competition last year and at the moment it's the fourth worst. That's got to improve.

"We've discussed a few issues in house and the players have reacted very well. It's a matter of getting consistent performances.

"We are capable of playing better footie - we showed that in the first 15 minutes last week when we blew London off the park. But rugby league is an 80-minute game and we've got to get through the tough periods and back up the nice tries with defence."

Also it's been clear, certainly against London, that we've been lacking a leader on the field with Andy Farrell missing. Too many players have been looking round for help rather than standing up for themselves. Kris Radlinski told Tuesday's Riversiders meeting that this is something that has been discussed and he told us to expect a better response from the team.

John Kear, who quit his position as assistant coach to Raper at Wigan in January for the same position at Hull, is surprised by our poor start to the season.

Kear said: "In all honesty, when I looked at the fixtures I thought Wigan would have been unbeaten after the first four,"

"They've had key players missing or not playing as well as they did last year and, although they've a very exciting group of kids coming through, it is a big step up to Super League.

"We're in a rich vein of form with our last two performances but we've got to be on our guard because at any moment in time Wigan can explode.

"They have got too many talented individuals to continue under-performing. A wounded animal is at its most dangerous."

Wounded animal indeed. I wouldn't be at all surprised if we put in a great performance and won this one but our defence needs to be spot on or else Hull could quite easily run riot.

I wouldn't say this is a must win game but with Saints, Leeds & Bradford being our next three super league fixtures we need this victory to ease the pressure. The young squad has got to stand up and start proving they compete with the big boys!

In recent years Wigan have a decent record in Hull. We've won five out of six Super League visits to the old Boulevard with the only loss being our last visit their last August. Overall our Super League record against them is 12-2 in our favour but they are now better than that record suggests. 

Last years Super League encounters between the sides were all not decided until the final moments.

In April at the JJB, Hull looked like they were going to bomb a 14-2 lead when they found themselves 18-14 behind. But Richard Horne scored late on and Matt Crowther's conversion gave them a 20-18 win.

In June at the Boulevard Andy Farrell treated us to a master class scoring 19 points in a 31-24 win, which he sealed with a 79th minute try.

In August Hull got the last laugh winning 26-18. But it could have been so different if Brian Carney and Gary Connolly hadn't have collided with the try line begging. Like earlier in the season at the JJB, Richie Horne sealed the win for Hull.

I expect a similar kind of game to those three tomorrow with lot's of tries. Hull will go top of the table if they win so they'll be looking to send out a message to their rivals. We will need someone to step up and take control if it's close late on. That man is Adrian Lam. He needs to make us tick. If he doesn't fire I think we'll lose. 

Opposition Ones to Watch

Richie Barnett & Toa Kohe-Love

Toa Kohe-Love and Richie Barnett form a formidable centre partnership for Hull FC which will have to be stopped.

It's a big ask for Martin Aspinwall and Dave Hodgson to deal with these two. 

Kohe-Love already has three tries in the four super league rounds so far with Barnett scoring once. Richie also has a great left boot which could cause us great damage.

Team News
Wigan Hull FC
Wigan coach Stuart Raper has made two changes, switching Paul Johnson to the second row in place of the injured Mick Cassidy and recalling Martin Aspinwall to right centre. There are also places on the bench for Stephen Wild and Shaun Briscoe, who is set for his first appearance of the season, at the expense of Ricky Bibey and Luke Robinson. But there is still no place for Australian stand-off Julian O'Neill. Garreth Carvell, who has missed Hull's last three matches with a hip injury, has been added to the squad for the game against Wigan. But director of rugby Shaun McRae is more likely to stick with an unchanged team for the second successive week. With Matt Crowther still sidelined with a calf injury, Richard Horne continues at full-back and Steve Prescott stays on the wing.
Match Referee
Karl Kirkpatrick (Warrington)
Pre Match Quotes
Wigan Hull FC
"We've discussed a few issues in house and the players have reacted very well. It's a matter of getting consistent performances. Rugby league is an 80-minute game and we've got to get through the tough periods and back up the nice tries with defence." Stuart Raper
"We're in a rich vein of form with our last two performances but we've got to be on our guard because at any moment in time Wigan can explode" John Kear
Current League Positions
Pos Team P W D L F A Pts Form
3 Hull FC 4 3 0 1 97 56 6 W2
6 Wigan Warriors 4 2 0 2 107 104 4 L1
Opposition Form (Last 6)
Date Opposition Competition Result Score
30/03/03 Warrington (A) SL8 Round 4 Won 27-14
23/03/03 Widnes (H) SL8 Round 3 Won 38-18
16/03/03 Leeds (A) C.Cup Qtr Final Lost 18-41
07/03/03 London (H) SL8 Round 2 Lost 4-10
02/03/03 Sheffield (H) C.Cup Round 5 Won 88-0
23/03/03 Wakefield (A) SL8 Round 1 Won 28-14

Wigan Form (Last 6 all comps most recent game first): LWWWWL

Super League 8 Stats
Top Try Scorers
David Hodgson 4
Hull FC: Steve Prescott 5

Top Goal Kickers
Julian O'Neill 11
Hull FC: Steve Prescott 14

Top Goal Kickers
Julian O'Neill 26
Hull FC: Steve Prescott 48
Previous Super League Meetings in Hull
Date Result Match Report


31st May 1998 Hull Sharks 16 Wigan 38 Click Here 6998
6th June 1999 Hull Sharks 12 Wigan 18 Click Here 4500
23rd July 2000 Hull FC 12 Wigan 21 Click Here 5168
19th May 2001 Hull FC 10 Wigan 46 Click Here 7851
8th June 2002 Hull FC 24 Wigan 31 Click Here 7125
31st Aug 2002 Hull FC 26 Wigan 18 Click Here 5849

SL Record at The Boulevard/KC Stadium: Wigan 5 Hull 1
Overall Super League Record: Wigan 12 Hull 2 (Includes play offs) 

Matchday Weather

From bbci.

Light Showers Showers in-between dry spells.
Wind: 12mph from the North.
Temps: Max: 13°C Low: 4°C

Ticket & Ground Details
North Stand (Visitors) - Adults: £14 Children: £5 OAP's/Students: £9
East Stand - Adults: £16 Children: £5 OAP's/Students: £12
West Stand - Adults: £18 Children: £10 OAP's/Students: £13
South Stand - Adults: £14 Children: £5 OAP's/Students: £9
Click for KC Stadium Ground Guide.
Media Coverage
TV: The Match is Live on Sky Sports 1 from 7:30pm with commentary from Eddie Hemmings and Mike Stephenson.
Delayed coverage of the match will be broadcast in Australia on Fox Sports on Friday 11th April.
Radio: 95.1 BBC GMR will have full match commentary of Hull FC v Wigan with Trevor Hunt.
Internet: Live full match commentary from BBC Five Live Sports Extra at bbc.co.uk/fivelive/sportsextra on air from 7:45pm.
Opposition Views
Hullfc.com - Official Site
Hull FC Official Forums
Hull rlfans.com Forum
Hull 26 Wigan 28
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