Wigan comeback from 12-point deficit to beat Hull FC 14-12
Warriors head into the play-offs unbeaten in the Super-8s and on an eight-game winning streak
- Tries from Hamlin, Sarginson and Gildart enough for Wigan win
Wigan Warriors made Betfred Super League history by becoming the first team to win all of their Super-8s fixtures in a tense 14-12 win over Hull FC.
Trailing 12-0 after early tries from Hull’s Carlos Tuimavave and Jamie Shaul, the Warriors clawed their way back into the game with tries from Gabe Hamlin, Dan Sarginson and a close-range effort from Oliver Gildart.
With perhaps one-eye on the upcoming Betfred Super League semi-final against Castleford Tigers, Shaun Wane rested full-back Sam Tomkins, whilst not risking the likes of Tommy Leuluai, Sean O’Loughlin and Benny Flower. Wane gave a start to Morgan Escare at full-back, Josh Woods at scrum half and was able to name Liam Farrell on the bench as the England second-row returned from a shoulder injury that had sidelined him since early July.
After an opening twenty minutes that was low on action and try-scoring chances, minus a held-up Sam Powell dummy-half effort, Wigan fell behind to Hull FC via a Carlos Tuimavae try. The Airlie Bird’s Samoan international was the beneficiary of a Jake Connor tap-down from a towering Jordan Abdull cross-field kick that the Wigan back cover couldn’t claim. It was nothing less than the Black and Whites deserved, as Lee Radford’s side edged the first quarter of the game and they were nearly in again when Jamie Shaul raced away from the Wigan cover only to be hauled sown 25 metres short of the Wigan try-line.
The Warriors’ task was made even harder when the visitors doubled their lead. Once again in a fortuitous fashion, this time Jake Connor’s grubber kick evading Morgan Escare because of the Frenchman’s slip on the turf to allow Shaul to race onto the bouncing ball seemingly unopposed. Connor once again added the extras.
Wigan eventually kicked into their rhythm, finishing the half in the ascendancy. The introduction of Craig Mullen at dummy-half added an extra running threat and after Mullen was hauled down 5 metres from the Hull FC line, Wigan played the ball and Josh Woods found Gabe Hamlin who powered through a flailing Danny Washbrook arm to score. Woods converted and Wigan trailed 12-6 at the break.
With Shaun Wane’s words of encouragement still ringing in their ears, the Warriors looked a more energised outfit in the second-half. The Cherry and Whites looked to impose themselves on their opponents in a way that they failed to do in the opening 40 minutes, with middle men Ryan Sutton and Tony Clubb, plus the introduction of Taulima Tautai from the interchange bench, Wigan were beginning to make headway through the heart of Lee Radford’s side.
On the 53rd minute Wigan’s second-half dominance would yield some points. George Williams expertly placed a cross-field into the path of the leaping Dan Sarginson, who showed equally impressive dexterity to collect the ball ahead of the Hull FC cover. It was an eye-catching try from the Wigan centre. Woods though failed to convert the extras meaning Wigan still trailed by two points.
Heading into the final quarter Wigan took the lead for the first time in the contest. Oliver Gildart has raced into to score the kind of tries associated with a YouTube highlights reel in recent weeks, but his fourth try in the last five games was one that would usually end up on the cutting room floor, yet it was of equal importance as his game changing scores away to St Helens and Huddersfield in recent weeks. The 22-year old centre barged his way over from close range to dot the ball down, in a show of strength and desire that is bound to please Shaun Wane.
Hull FC looked to hit back, and through the clever kicking game of Abdull and Connor they pressured Wigan into some mistakes in the back field. The Warriros responded with some pressure of their own, and the harassing effort of Tony Clubb to force a knock-on after a Hull FC backs move malfunctioned was the energy giver the Warriors craved.
The Warriros had their chances to see out the game. With 11-miuntes left to play a George Williams cut-out pass couldn’t be claimed by the industrious Tautai under the shadow of the Hull FC posts. Dom Manfredi also went close, cutting in from the right-wing to devastating effect, but was hauled down by some desperate defending from the visitors.
In a nervy finish Jamie Shaul looked in prime position to score , only for Oliver Gildart to haul him down metres from the line with five minutes left to play. Hull FC had possession near the end, but the Warriors held-on for the win.
Wigan Warriors: 20. Morgan Escare, 21. Dom Manfredi, 4. Oliver Gildart, 3. Dan Sarginson, 2. Tom Davies; 6. George Williams, 34. Josh Woods; 15. Ryan Sutton, 7. Sam Powell, 25. Romain Navarrete, 14. John Bateman, 40. Joe Greenwood, 8. Tony Clubb.
Interchange: 30. Gabe Hamlin, 12. Liam Farrell, 38. Craig Mullen, 17. Taulima Tautai.
Tries: Gabe Hamlin (32’), Dan Sarginson (53’), Oliver Gildart (59’) Conversions: Josh Woods ½ Penalties:
Hull FC: 1. Jamie Shaul, 2. Bureta Faraimo, 3. Carlos Tuimavae, 30. Cameron Scott, 5. Fetuli Talanoa; 16. Jordan Abdull, 14. Jake Connor; 29. Masimbaashe Matongo, 9. Danny Houghton, 8. Scott Taylor, 17. Danny Washbrook, 4. Josh Griffin, 20. Bradley Fash.
Interchange: 36. Lewis Bienek, 22. Jez Litten, 28. Hakim Miloudi, 23. Mickey Pea.
Tries: Carlos Tuimavae (20’), Jamie Shaul 28’ Conversions: Jake Connor 2/2 Penalties:
Man of the Match: Romain Navarrete