Super League leaders Hull maintained their place at the head of the competition with a 30-10 win over Widnes.
With the rest of the top four also in action last night, Hull needed these points to keep ahead of the rest and they duly did what they had to do thanks to a fine second-half showing.
The last time Hull faced Widnes they were beaten by 40 points and coach Lee Radford was kept out of the dressing room by his players as they attempted to sort out their poor form.
Whatever was said that night has worked as Hull have transformed themselves into real title contenders since, with this their 12th win out of 13 in all competitions in the wake of that loss.
This was not a victory to savour from an aesthetic point of view, at least in the first half, but once they wore Widnes down there was only one outcome.
Hull were sloppy early on. Missing the drive of prop Liam Watts they failed to get going and could not complain when Rhys Hanbury’s fine piece of skill off Kevin Brown’s pass saw them go behind eight minutes in.
It took Hull some time to get going after that but, when they did, Carlos Tuimavave dazzled with a brilliant piece of play.
The stand-off dummied both ways with 21 minutes on the clock, his footwork and movement baffling Widnes and he had an easy route to the line. Marc Sneyd upgraded it for a 6-4 lead.
Fetuli Talanoa then thought he had scored a second but was brought back for a comfortable forward pass and that was as exciting as the opening half got.
In need of more points to get themselves a cushion, Hull started the second half well and were camped on the Widnes line for five minutes but nothing they tried could break a resolute line until Kirk Yeaman resorted to brute force which did the trick.
Yeaman passed 700 points in his Hull career in the process – all without kicking a goal – and then Josh Bowden went in from close range.
Widnes, having soaked up some heavy punishment at the start of the half, had little left to give and Hull started to dismantle them.
First, some sloppy defence left a Sneyd kick on the floor and Danny Houghton dotted it down, before some rampaging work from Scott Taylor sent Jamie Shaul free for a length-of-the-field effort that wrapped it up, barring Chris Dean’s late consolation.
Hull: Shaul, Michaels, Fonua, Yeaman, Talanoa, Tuimavave, Sneyd, Taylor, Houghton, Bowden, Minichiello, Manu, Ellis. Substitutes: Green, Thompson, Hadley, Washbrook.
Widnes: Hanbury, Thompson, Runciman, Bridge, Marsh, Mellor, Brown, Cahill, White, Dudson, Houston, Dean, Leuluai. Substitutes: Buchanan, Manuokafoa, Sa, Whitley.
Referee: J Smith (RFL).
A Josh Charnley hat-trick helped Wigan make it three wins in succession in Super League as they defeated Salford 23-20 in a thriller at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Wigan held a narrow 11-10 lead at the break after a pulsating 40 minutes. The Reds Devils led 10-4 at one stage after a try double from Michael Dobson had cancelled out Josh Charnley’s early score for the Warriors. Ryan Sutton’s try saw the Warriors level it up before Matty Smith slotted over a drop goal right on the hooter.