|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
.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
"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
Last years Super League
encounters between the sides were all not decided until the final
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
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.
SQUAD NUMBERS - BARNETT: 3 KOHE-LOVE: 4