IT MIGHT only be for a matter of hours, but Hull FC are top of Super League.
Lee Radford’s side produced a fine performance last night, keeping in-form Warrington Wolves pointless for almost the last hour of this game as they reaped the rewards of another splendid rendition of quality kicking from Marc Sneyd.
The scrum-half was at his imperious best with a series of crucial kicks, be it a 40/20 or the two well-judged grubbers that pinned his opponents back for successive drop-outs in a second half Hull went on to dominate.
He also slotted all seven of his goal attempts to help inflict Warrington’s first defeat in six games and move Hull above Castleford Tigers, who face Wigan Warriors tonight.
Still missing their injured Man of Steel Danny Houghton, the hooker who proved the hero when FC defeated Warrington at Wembley last August, Hull also shrugged off the absence of captain Gareth Ellis here.
Centre Jake Connor enjoyed his best game in a Hull jersey, scoring one try and creating another two with some sublime handling after being selected again ahead of Josh Griffin, while Albert Kelly’s brace took him to 11 for the season.
Hull, having beaten leaders Castleford last week largely with 12 men, started impressively here with real pace and alacrity to their game.
They were 12-0 up inside just 10 minutes courtesy of Connor and Mahe Fonua tries.
Connor leapt high to claim Sneyd’s early crossfield kick as every Wire defender bizarrely remained ground.
Soon after, it was the former Huddersfield Giants player who squeezed out a pass for Fonua to score, completing a fine set that had started with the robust winger claiming a kick behind his own line.
Lee Radford’s side reaped the rewards of another splendid rendition of quality kicking from Marc Sneyd.The YP’s Dave Craven
Sneyd converted both and disorganised Warrington looked in danger of being blown away.
However, Stefan Ratchford – who flies out with the England squad today as a late replacement for stricken Gareth Widdop – steadied their game by producing a classy floated pass to furnish the returning winger Matty Russell with a try in the corner on 16 minutes.
When Sika Manu was sin-binned for an ugly-looking arm pull on Ryan Atkins, the visitors immediately reduced the deficit further as former Hull loose forward Joe Westerman cut in on a fine angle off Declan Patton’s pass to cross, Patton improving.
Thereafter Radford’s 12 men produced some excellent scrambling defence, just like last week, Carlos Tuimavave first holding up Rhys Evans and then Connor and Kelly rushing to deny another erstwhile Hull player Tom Lineham.
Upon Manu’s return, Sneyd added a penalty and they were furious England stand-off Kevin Brown was not given any card whatsoever for a dangerous lift on Jansin Turgut.
Trailing 14-10 at the break, Warrington thought they had scored within 50 seconds of the restart following Joe Philbin’s stunning 80m run.
However, Jack Hughes’s effort was ruled out by video referee Ben Thaler for a questionable obstruction.
Instead, it was Hull who crucially extended their advantage after Sneyd’s stellar kicking forced those aforementioned drop-outs.
From there, Kelly’s astute long pass gave Connor just enough space to get on the outside of his opposite man before turning a lovely flick pass inside for the supporting Jamie Shaul.
Sneyd improved again and then directed a brilliant 40/20 to keep his side on the front foot.
This gave Kelly the chance to stretch over for his first and he added his second late on when Fonua intercepted and raced 80m.
Hull FC: Shaul; Fonua, Connor, Tuimavave, Michaels; Kelly, Sneyd; Taylor, Washbrook, Green, Manu, Minichiello, Thompson. Substitutes: Griffin, Turgut, Downs, Fash.
Warrington Wolves: Ratchford; Russell, Evans, Atkins, Lineham; Brown, Patton; Hill, Gidley, Sims, Jullien, Hughes, Westerman. Substitutes: Cooper, Dwyer, Savelio, Philbin.
Referee: James Child (Dewsbury).