A Wigan Warriors penalty was the difference as Hull FC suffered their first defeat under Brett Hodgson, narrowly losing 16-14 at the DW Stadium.
Hull will perhaps feel short-changed as they depart the DW Stadium after putting in a workmanlike performance, but a second half penalty from Zak Hardaker rendered Adam Swift and Mahe Fonua’s tries academic.
In an intriguing battle that went the distance, Wigan stayed strong against the Black & Whites, scoring through Jackson Hastings, Liam Farrell and Jake Bibby as Adrian Lam’s side remain unbeaten in 2021.
After missing out on the last two matches, Mahe Fonua returned to the wing spot to replace the suspended Bureta Faraimo.
That was the one and only change from the 17-man squad that defeated Wakefield 20-14 last time out.
The Warriors named an unchanged 17-man squad following their impressive hard-fought win over Castleford last week, with Zak Hardaker continuing at fullback and Bevan French out on the wing.
After suffocating the Black & Whites in the early stages of the match, it was on the back of a Hull error in a yardage set that Wigan struck first blood through Hastings, throwing the dummy and bouncing over on the outside shoulder of his defender. Hardaker converted to make it 6-0.
With their first goodball set of the game, Hull stated their intent in attack and posted their first points of the game. Connor’s cutout pass found Swift in the left corner and the former Saints man finished acrobatically. Sneyd nailed the touchline conversion.
After playing a pivotal role in proceedings, Connor was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle, but that didn’t halt Hull’s go-forward.
After a high tackle on Andre Savelio, FC opted to take the two from the penalty. Sneyd stroked the ball between the uprights to give the visitors a slender 8-6 advantage.
It didn’t take the Warriors long to regain the lead, however. After a set restart on halfway, Hastings found Farrell on a lead line and the England international showed class on his way to the whitewash. Hardaker missed the conversion.
HALF-TIME: Warriors 10-8 Hull
After having what looked like an early second half try chalked off, the Black & Whites remained composed and regained the lead through Fonua, who leapt like a salmon above French to claim a Sneyd box kick. The scrum half couldn’t maintain his 100% kicking record from the conversion, though.
More ill-discipline cost the hosts another two points after Bateman came up with a late challenge on Ligi Sao. Sneyd took the complimentary two points and extended Hull’s lead to 14-10.
The arm-wrestle continued when Bibby scored in the right corner off a quick shift, with fullback Connor locked up in the ruck from the previous tackle. Hardaker couldn’t convert from the touchline.
After a spell of dominance and pinning Hull inside their own half, the Warriors were awarded a penalty for a ruck infringement in front of the sticks with 15 minutes remaining. Hardaker duly obliged and slotted over the two points to give Wigan the lead again.
FULL-TIME: Warriors 16-14 Hull
Squads & Scorers
Hull: Connor, Fonua, Tuimavave, Griffin, Swift, McNamara, Sneyd, Taylor, Houghton, Sao, Savelio, Lane, Cator
Hull Interchanges: Satae, Johnstone, Fash, Scott
Hull Tries: Swift, Fonua
Hull Goals: Sneyd (3/4)
Warriors: Hardaker, French, Farrell, Isa, Bibby, Hastings, Smith, Clubb, Powell, Singleton, Smithies, Bateman, Partington
Warriors Interchanges: Bullock, Byrne, Havard, Shorrocks
Warriors Tries: Hastings, Farrell, Bibby
Warriors Goals: Hardaker (2/4)