Hull FC coach Lee Radford was left to reflect on his side’s poor first-half showing as they just fell short of completing a dramatic comeback in a narrow defeat at Warrington.
Tries from Stefan Ratchford, Trent Waterhouse and Ben Evans in the first half had helped the home side build an 18-6 lead, but come the final whistle they were hanging on.
Hull’s recovery to almost pinch the points at the Halliwell Jones Stadium was built on tries from Tom Lineham and Fetuli Talanoa in the final 20 minutes, with Danny Houghton having crossed for their opener in the first half.
Radford said: “Our first-half performance has probably cost us the victory today, We again strung together a top-quality 40 minutes (in the second half) and the quicker we realise if we put it together for longer periods the better chance we are going to give ourselves.
“Defensively we were really poor in the first half, but we defended our try line magnificently in the second half so it gives us something to build on.
“Warrington are a difficult team to defend against when they are on the front foot.
“The players are frustrated with themselves because like last week against St Helens we have fronted up and come away with nothing. The positives are that they are difficult grounds to go to and we haven’t been far off and the negative is we are just falling short at the moment.”
Radford was full of praise for loose forward Joe Westerman, who put in a big effort for his side.
Radford added: “Joe was outstanding and has been our best player by a country mile. If he continues that form it will put us in good stead.
“He has been working really hard in training and potential is a word used time and again with Joe’s career. If he can continue with the form he’s showing we can stop talking about potential and he will realise he is good enough to be where he can be at.”
Warrington coach Tony Smith hailed his side’s defensive resilience as the Wolves held on for their first win of the season.
“It was a tough old game played in tough conditions and we had to stick with it,” said Smith.
“I thought we controlled it pretty well for much of the game, we had a few defensive slip-ups, but again it was a big improvement.
“It took a lot of resilience on your own goal line from time to time and we did that.
“We have improved again and our kicking game in the first half was terrific and that part of our game in the conditions was crucial.
“Some of our boys who have been well out of form had good solid games and that makes a big difference.”
Warrington Wolves: Ratchford, Ormsby, Bridge, Atkins, J Monaghan, O’Brien, Myler, Hill, Higham, Asotasi, Waterhouse, Westwood, Currie. Substitutes: M Monaghan, England, Laithwaite, B Evans.
Hull FC: Shaul, Lineham, Crooks, Yeaman, Talanoa, Rankin, Horne, Paea, Houghton, Bowden, Ellis, Pitts, Westerman. Substitutes: Whiting, Heremaia, Thompson, Paleaaesina.
Referee: J Child (RFL).