Hull FC made it a Magic Weekend to remember by beating high flying Warrington at St. James’ Park.
Hull fell 12 points behind in the opening 15 minutes, but hit back to bring Magic Weekend to a close with a bang.
Tries from Danny Houghton, Adam Swift, Tex Hoy and a hattrick from Josh Griffin gave Hull the points in a thrilling encounter on Tyneside.
Tony Smith made just one change from the team that faced Salford Red Devils last time out, with Andre Savelio making his return from a hand injury after an impressive performance in the Reserves last weekend to take his place on the interchange bench for the first time since early April.
The only other change to Smith’s side was Scott Taylor moving to the starting side in place of Ligi Sao who started from the interchange bench.
Hull remained without Carlos Tuimavave (hamstring), Davy Litten (ankle), Mitieli Vulikijapani (ACL) and Charlie Severs (shoulder) though injury.
Daryl Powell was able to bring Connor Wrench into his team for his first game of the season after a lengthy ACL injury. He took the place of Matty Russell on the right wing for the Wolves.
Elsewhere, Josh Drinkwater returned from suspension to start at scrum half, and Yorkshire Academy prop Lucas Green returned to the interchange bench in place of the injured Sam Kasiano.
Daryll Powell couldn’t have wished for a better start to the first half, as Connor Wrench marked his return to the side in the perfect manner, rising highest to claim a George Williams crossfield kick within the first three minutes.
Warrington thought they’d grabbed the second of the match shortly afterwards, as Daryl Clark showed neat footwork near the Hull line to create space, but pressure from Scott Taylor and Danny Houghton forced a knock on under the posts.
A frantic set followed, as Hull moved into Warrington territory and went close to scoring as Jake Clifford patted back his own grubber kick but the bounce of the ball evaded Liam Sutcliffe and Adam Swift and found its way to Wrench. He broke away, and the ball went to the other wing to Matty Ashton. Ashton was well tackled by Cam Scott before the Wolves moved the attack to the right hand side, but Wrench was unable to score.
From the resulting set though, Jake Trueman fumbled the ball in his own half and George Williams dribbled the ball forward to himself to stroll under the posts, with Ratchford extending Warrington’s lead to 12.
Hull hit back immediately. Jake Clifford’s kick wasn’t claimed by a Warrington defender and Cam Scott came up trumps. On the last tackle Tex Hoy put an inch perfect kick up for Darnell McIntosh to pat back for Danny Houghton to burrow his way under the Warrington defenders to score. Clifford’s conversion reduced the deficit to 6.
Warrington perhaps enjoyed the better of the remainder of the half, dominating possession and field position, but Hull’s goal line defence remained resolute to the Wolves attack in a threatening position.
Half Time: Hull FC 6 – 12 Warrington Wolves
After a first half performance that was built around defensive effort, the second half was built on attacking flair.
For the second time in the afternoon Cam Scott claimed Jake Clifford’s restart, and on play 4 from the first set of the half Josh Griffin was held up over the line, before Andre Savelio was held up on the last tackle.
However, it didn’t take long for Hull to cross the whitewash. Griffin, who claimed the Peregrine Property Man of the Match award smuggled an offload out of a tackle, which Danny Houghton moved on to Jake Clifford. Clifford showed the vision and awareness to grubber behind the line for Adam Swift to race onto the kick and ground in the corner, reducing the deficit to 2 points.
Griffin was next to strike for Hull. A nice run from Danny Houghton took Hull close to the Wolves line. Jake Trueman gave his half back partner Jake Clifford time and space to hit Griffin on a lovely line to power past the sliding Warrington defence to score next to the posts and for Hull to lead for the first time in the afternoon.
Griffin grabbed his brace midway through the half. Adam Swift threatened to break away when returning a Danny Walker 40/20 attempt, and Hull rolled the Warrington defence downfield. On the last tackle Trueman’s crossfield kick was inch perfect, splitting the defence and Griffin and Liam Sutcliffe almost got in each other’s way to take the catch and dot down to score.
Warrington reduced the deficit as Connor Wrench bagged his second of the match. An error from Hull coming out of their own end gave Warrington good field position, and they were able to take advantage in the corner as Matt Dufty found Wrench with a wide pass to score in the corner. Stefan Ratchford’s conversion brought the Wolves back to within 2 points.
Hull scored next as Josh Griffin claimed his hattrick. Tex Hoy made a brilliant break from a kick return, Adam Swift took an offload from the Australian and passed it one further for Josh Griffin to roll back the year and beat Danny Walker in a footrace. Clifford’s missed conversion left Hull 6 points to the good.
Tex Hoy rounded off the scoring for the afternoon with his first for the club. Clifford’s long kick was fumbled into touch by Matt Dafty, and on play 3 Tex Hoy threw a dummy and dotted down to score, with Clifford’s conversion putting Hull 12 points in front.
Full Time: Hull FC 30 – 18 Warrington Wolves
Hull: Tex Hoy, Darnell McIntosh, Cam Scott, Liam Sutcliffe, Adam Swift, Jake Trueman, Jake Clifford, Scott Taylor, Danny Houghton, Brad Fash, Josh Griffin, Jordan Lane, Joe Cator; Ligi Sao, Chris Satae, Andre Savelio, Brad Dwyer
Wolves: Matt Dufty, Connor Wrench, Greg Minikin, Stefan Ratchford, Matty Ashton, George Williams, Josh Drinkwater, Gil Dudson, Daryl Clark, Paul Vaughan, Ben Currie, James Harrison, Peter Mata’utia; Joe Philbin, Joe Bullock, Danny Walker, Lucas Green
Hull: Danny Houghton, Adam Swift, Josh Griffin (3), Tex Hoy | Jake Clifford (3/6)
Wolves: Connor Wrench (2), George Williams | Stefan Ratchford (3/3)
Peregrine Property Man of the Match: Josh Griffin
Attendance, in association with Garbutts: 26326