Think back to July 2010. Then coach Michael Maguire
had returned home for a family bereavement and a certain Shaun
Wane was left in temporary charge. At that time we had just
recently been beaten by both St Helens and Warrington and our
title credentials were looking shaky ahead of away trips to Hull
and champions Leeds. The Hull trip saw Wigan take their best away
record to the league's best home record and what happened? We went
in and trashed them 46-0 in their own back yard. I still think
that is the best all round Wigan performance I can remember.
Spin forward two seasons and whilst we haven't had
defeats in the lead up to this trip, the situation is pretty
similar. Wigan have the league's best away record again and Hull
are one of only two sides, Catalan the other, to have an unbeaten
home record so far this season.
The unbeaten home record, in the league, looks a good
return on paper but Warrington did take a point off them in the
opening round of the season and the other sides they have beaten
are London, Wakefield, Widnes and Bradford.
Hull sit just a point behind Wigan in the table, with
a game in hand, and the form table further down this preview shows
they are actually in better form than us. So they should be pretty
happy, but is it a false position?
I think it's fair to say they've had a easy run of
games so far and having lost back to back to Huddersfield in both
league and cup, perhaps the reality is now setting in? Hull's run
in the next 10 rounds looks pretty tough with St Helens, Leeds and
Huddersfield following us in travelling to KC Stadium whilst they
face rivals Hull KR both away and on the Magic Weekend, with
further trips to both Warrington and Leeds. That run will be the
proper test of their aspirations this year.
I mean bottom line for Hull is they've racked up
their seven victories against the current 7th, 8th, 9th, 11th,
12th, 13th and 14th placed teams. Granted you can only beat what
is in front of you but I can't help thinking its a false position.
I say all that before even considering that Hull come into
Sunday's clash with a huge heap of injury problems. Jordan Turner, Kirk Yeaman,
Richard Horne, Mark O'Meley, Joe Westerman, Eamon O'Carroll and
Martin Aspinwall all set to miss this one with Lee Radford set to
get another run out for them.
Wigan meanwhile welcome back both Pat Richards and
Sean O'Loughlin to a squad in hot form. I was going to write that
Pat's full fitness would be tested by whether he returns to goal
kicking but an interview with Josh Charnley done by the
Wigan Evening Post suggests that Pat will be back on kicking
duty and surely that tells us he is fully fit?
Wane also recalls Brett Finch, Harrison and Jeff Lima
to the 19 after they were rested for the North Wales cup tie, so
we look pretty healthy going into this and that is why I expect a
healthy win. I don't think we'll fall into the trap of Round 1
when we lost to an under strength Huddersfield.
We have won four in a row and I think their is a
determination to keep that form going in this crucial part of the
season that will see us face away games at Featherstone,
Huddersfield, St Helens (Magic), Leeds and Catalan on top of a
potentially big Cup Quarter Final (if we progress) over the next 8
weeks. Only one home game between now and late June is a big ask
but I'm actually quite confident going into this tough run of
games because we are probably the only side in Super League that
seemingly prefers playing on the road than at our home venue. We
don't fear away trips! We just need to be cautious with our
discipline because Hull love taking the two, having kicked 9
penalty goals this season (4 more than any other club). They'll
perhaps try and slow this game down for that reason, so we need to
keep a fast tempo and that I think will take us to the win.
Sadly I won't be making the trip to Hull. Mainly due
to severe lack of funds but to be honest I wasn't happy with the
ridiculous ?23 price anyway, especially when they charge home fans
?19 for the same view up the other end. It'll be Wish FM
commentary for me and I genuinely can't remember the last time
I'll have sat at home listening to a game on radio, but I reckon
it'll have been in the 1990s! The very odd ones I have missed over
my 10 years doing this site have either been televised or I've
been on holiday. Anyway, my absence will mean no twitter updates
from me on Sunday and gawd knows how I'll blag a match report but
we shall see eh I suppose. Enjoy the trip if your going! #notjealous!