Well Wigan won, but they could so easily have lost this one. I felt
it was by far our worst display of the season, but the fact we
still came out of it with a victory is to our great credit.
reasons why it was our worst display? Well how often have we seen
Wigan in recent years get control of a match then throw it away so
A score like 24-10 is normally shut the gate time. I know
someone during the Wish FM commentary I did brought up the
comparison with the Castleford match earlier in the season but that
was different for me.
Cas that day came back from 22-4 down to level at 22 all, but
they had actually played well in being behind and looked a threat
from deep all game.
Hull, in the main, needed help to get up the field. Sadly Wigan
kept gifting them opportunities and without the two late penalty
goals from Pat, I reckon they could have snatched this.
It was a distracting week for Wigan though with the midweek
announcements on Tuesday, and then news of Pat's departure at the
end of the season, so maybe that was a factor in this bitty
performance? Shaun Wane doesn't think so, but I'm not so sure.
The game started with both sides content to complete sets. It
was very tight up the middle of the field and if anyone was trying
to go wide it was Hull.
I sensed that Wigan were just getting on top in the pack after
ten minutes and that showed on the score board. First try came from
the first clean break of the game. Blake Green bust up the middle
of the field and eventually Iain Thornley touched down in the left
corner. During commentary I called it short and some Hull fans are
still adamant to me on twitter that it was short, but it looked ok
to me on the video. A bigger complaint was the forward pass in the
build up. Touchline conversion from Pat made it 6-0.
Wigan quickly doubled that lead with a second try on the
restart. McIlorum, Green, Smith and Sam combined to get Pat away
down the left. I think he realised he didn't have the pace to beat
Tom Lineham so he hacked inside for Sam Tomkins to touch down. That
was a move we saw twice on our last visit to Humberside. He added
the extras for 12-0.
Hull got back into the match with a try on 22 minutes. Kirk
Yeaman doing well to offload and get Lineham over, but Westerman
couldn't convert - 12-4.
The Black and Whites then finished the half strongly and were
leaving Wigan hanging on for the break. They almost made it, but
the home side managed to score 30 seconds before the hooter with
Ben Crooks forcing his way over. Conversion from Westerman made it
12-10 to Wigan at the break.
Hull started the better second half also, but a conceded penalty
got Wigan on the attack and they scored back to back tries for the
second time in the game. A familiar move towards the right with
Smith and Green getting a touch before Sam Tomkins. His pass misses
out centre Goulding and Charnley gets over in the corner. Pat
nailing a conversion from the right touchline was huge at this
point. It made the lead a two score one at 18-10.
Then to back it up with a great try was equally as important to
the end result. Aaron Heremaia with the poor missed tackle allowed
Jack Hughes to break clear and he calmly offloaded at the right
moment to avoid full back Shannon McDonnell and get the supporting
Sam over for his second. Easy conversion made it 24-10 with half an
hour to go.
But Wigan didn't kick on! They were not clever and errors kept
inviting Hull on to us time and time again and evenutally Tom
Lineham claimed two tries for his hat-trick.. First on 56 minutes
he took advantage of Ben Crooks beating Pat Richards in the air.
Then he went over four minutes later after a poor missed tackle
from Thornley. No mercy was shown on Thornley by Wane. He was
immediately interchanged with Jack Hughes replacing him at centre.
Only the second try was converted, leaving the score at 24-20.
This left a tense final quarter with Wigan continuing to be
guilty of creating their own pressure. Hull twice had opportunities
but wasted both. One saw Mark O'Meley knock on under the sticks and
another out right saw an criminal first tackle error.
Wigan meanwhile had two opportunities themselves which came from
penalties. They kicked two goals from about 40 metres away to
create an eight point lead. The fact we had to resort to that
probably sums this game up more than anything.
The bigger picture though is a seventh consecutive win and the
fact we've gone three points clear before everyone else plays this
weekend. With Salford and London to come in the league, that's a
good position to be in. April can be a month of a banana skin
result but we've managed to get through it.