Two of the remaining three unbeaten sides in Super League 2021 met at the DW Stadium in the opening game of round five as Hull FC visited the Wigan Warriors in arguably the tie of the round.
Wigan put FC to the sword on the three occasions that they met last season with 26-12, 36-4 and 29-2 victories and it is over two years since Hull were last victors over the Cherry and Whites.
FC were without Bureta Faraimo who picked up a two-week suspension after a ‘reckless’ tackle in last weekends win over Wakefield Trinity, he was replaced on the wing by Mahe Fonua. Wigan were without an injured Tommy Leuluai and Zak Hardaker retained his full back selection.
Jackson Hastings was first over the whitewash on nine minutes, punishing a Hull dropped ball, when he threw the dummy, dropped the shoulder, and came inside to go in for the try. Hardaker added the conversion for a 6-0 lead.
FC took just six minutes to strike back after a Bevan French mistake, losing the ball in the tackle. A fast play and fast hands saw the ball end up with a flying Adam Swift to dive over in the corner. Marc Sneyd scored a superb touchline goal to tie things up.
FC lost Jake Connor on the half hour mark after a high tackle on his opposite number Hardaker, the Hull man getting yellow carded. But it was the twelve men who went ahead on thirty-three with a Sneyd penalty after referee Child put an alleged ‘racist remark’ from Tony Clubb on report.
Three minutes from the interval Hastings was the provider to Liam Farrell who jinked through the defensive line, evading two outstretched hands, to cross for a four pointer. Hardaker couldn’t add the extras, Wigan taking a 10-8 lead into the break.
Back to a full thirteen the Airlie Birds regained the lead on forty-five with Mahe Fonua rising above French to take a Sneyd high kick to the corner and ground. Sneyd missed with his third kick of the night in a see-saw game.
A Sneyd penalty from in front of the sticks on fifty-two extended the lead to 14-10 but five minutes later Jake Bibby slid over by the right corner flag after the ball was passed through numerous sets of hands before ending up with the winger. Hardaker pushed his kick across the face of the posts.
A sixty-fifth minutes Hardaker penalty put the home side back in front but the game was still anyones.
But despite having chances on the Wigan line a strong defence kept Hull out and the it was the home side who retained their unbeaten record at the cost of the Black & White’s. It was a scrappy and bad-tempered game with the main talking points being the alleged ‘racist comment’ and the phony ‘war’ between Connor and Hardaker. Not one for the purists, but one which will please Adrian Lam as he gets the points.
Wigan Warriors: Hardaker (2G), French, Farrell (T), Isa, Bibby (T), Hastings (T), Smith, Singleton, Powell, Clubb, Smithies, Bateman, Partington. Subs: Bullock, Byrne, Havard, Shorrocks.
Hull FC: Connor (SB on 31), Fonua (T), Tuimavave, Griffin, Swift (T), McNamara, Sneyd (3G), Taylor, Houghton, Sao, Savelio, Lane, Cator. Subs: Fash, Satae, Scott, Johnstone.
Referee: James Child.
Score Progression: 4-0, 6-0, 6-4, 6-6, 6-8, 10-8 : HT : 10-12, 10-14, 14-14, 16-14 : FT.