Hull FC 4 Warrington Wolves 38 - Hull sack boss Lee Radford after another home mauling
The coronavirus has put the world on edge, and not without reason.
Yet as surreal as this pandemic seems, it is also hard to explain just why abject Hull FC were as bad as they were in this truly awful display.
It was so strange. Lee Radford’s side were just 6-0 down at the break and, for all their ineptitude, still had a chance of success, mainly because their opponents Warrington Wolves were similarly appalling.
Things got worse, though, and it ended in the strangest circumstances of all; Hull chairman Adam Pearson announcing live on Sky Sports that Radford had paid the price with his job.
The Rugby Football League made a statement before kick-off saying how - with the Prime Minister’s backing - there was no medical rationale for restricting large public events such as sports fixtures so there was no threat to this weekend’s fixtures.
Yet, by half-time, both sets of fans must have wished this game had been played behind closed doors such was the paucity of quality involved.
It was dire. The difference, though, was Warrington got their act together in the second period and scored five unanswered tries to give their fans something to cheer.
Gareth Widdop (2), Anthony Gelling - back after being suspended for the last four games following his arrest on suspicion of wounding with intent - Ben Murdoch-Masila and Blake Austin all ran in scores, mainly prompted by Daryl Clark’s effervescent play in the middle.
Hull, on other hand, just nosedived as, for the fifth week running, they endured a miserable second half collapse.
They had recovered sufficiently enough to salvage a Golden Point win at Wakefield Trinity on Friday but there was no such relief here as they suffered a fourth defeat in five games.
Three have come at home and the locals are becoming increasingly irked.
At least Kieran Buchanan scored to avoid a whitewash but that try came with 19 seconds remaining.
In mitigation, they were forced into an early rejig when winger Mahe Fonua departed with a suspected broken rib in the 17th minute.
Hull had five senior wingers in contention when they started out in pre-season and now, by Round Seven, they now have none available.
It is hard to know where to begin with the dire nature of both sides’ play in the first period.
Let’s start with Hull; they spilled in their first two possessions, Scott Taylor when taking in the kick-off and then fellow prop Josh Bowden coughing it up, too, to invite Warrington in.
It set the tone. Austin put on his big double step and sliced through for the game’s opening try.
Yet Hull were not done with the open invites.
In one staggering spell, Brad Fash played the ball 10m from his own line only to discover that dummy-half Danny Houghton had his back turned.
Warrington dived on the ball. Fortunately, for Hull, their opponents were initially just as dismal, Gelling trying to find a corner that was never reachable only to be marshalled into touch by Josh Griffin.
Still, the hosts were not finished; the hooter sounded but not to put everyone out of their misery.
Instead, it was to signal to referee Chris Kendall that Hull had not fed the subsequent scrum within the 30 second time-frame. Penalty to Wolves.
It summed up the attitude of Radford’s side who looked lacklustre and sluggish from the off.
Thankfully, wretched Warrington could not capitalise again, Murdoch-Masila running behind team-mate Joe Philbin to concede a penalty that left Steve Price equally as maddened.
That said, credit should be given to Fash and young Jack Brown for somehow halting the big, charging Tongan before the whistle was blown.
In fact, those two replacement forwards offered much-needed directness in attack as well, 19-year-old prop Brown coming in for his first appearance this term to show many of his more experienced colleagues what was required.
When former NRL prop Chris Satate came back from his first rest, he immediately offloaded to no one to concede yet more possession.
Hull had few clear-cut chances, Widdop cutting down one chance after
Marc Sneyd had found Fash with one clever inside pass.
But too often, their attacks were slow and muddled, Albert Kelly throwing one woeful pass behind half-back colleague Sneyd while another promising opportunity ended - like Wolves before - with a Hull player bizarrely running behind his own colleague.
Earlier, smart kicks from Jamie Shaul and Sneyd had forced back-to-back drop-outs but it amounted to nothing, Radford’s side lacking any idea on how to create any fault lines in Warrington’s defence.
Instead, another dropped ball gifted the visitors their second try in the 36th minute, former Hull winger Tom Lineham sliding over.
At the start of the second period, makeshift winger Carlos Tuimavave intercepted but was chased down by England second-row Ben Currie.
Then Warrington took control, starting when Shaul tried running out of his own 20m on the last tackle...
It meant Radford - the club's most successful coach in more than 30 years after twice winning the Challenge Cup - paid the ultimate price as his seven year reign came to an inglorious end.
Hull FC: Shaul; Fonua, Tuimavave, Griffin, Buchanan; Kelly, Sneyd; Taylor, Houghton, Satae, Jones, Lame, Bowden. Substitutes: Johnstone, Matongo, Brown, Fash.
Warrington Wolves: Ratchford; Lineham, Gelling, King, Charnley; Austin, Widdop; Hill, Walker, Cooper, Currie, Murdoch-Masila, J Clark. Substitutes: D Clark, Philbin, Mamo, Akauola.
Referee: Chris Kendall (Huddersfield)