Yet Hull FC and Warrington Wolves conspired here to produce a match of genuine high quality with the Airlie Birds eventually edging home in the dramatic final stages to end their opponents’ 100 per cent winning start in Super League.
That Lee Radford’s side was able to do so is all the more remarkable given they were without eight first-team regulars – “there was £1 million of salary cap sat in the stands” the head coach said afterwards – and their contest just three days earlier had been the always mentally draining derby at Hull Kingston Rovers.
Hull FC, of course, won that from 20-0 down following a stunning comeback in the last 20 minutes and they had been 20-10 down at half-time in this one and, having reclaimed the lead to go 22-20 ahead with well-worked tries for the revived veteran Kirk Yeaman and winger Curtis Naughton, they fell behind once more.
It was Tom Lineham, the prolific winger making his first return to Hull having been sold to Warrington for £125,000 last autumn, who inflicted the blow, crossing in the 67th minute.
He had already scored in the first half, seen two other efforts disallowed and wasted another when dropping the ball in the process of attempting one of his famed one-handed finishers.
From thereon, it would have been easy for the hosts to wiltbut they surged again, inspired by Marc Sneyd, the former Castleford Tigers scrum-half who arguably had his best game in a black and white jersey.
Everything he touched seemed to be spot on – passing, kicking, running – and it was no surprise the rest of his team-mates followed in a fine display.
Ironically, though, it was one of Sneyd’s rare miscued kicks which led to the definitive moment, Warrington charging him down but the ball coming loose where it was worked well to the corner for Naughton to apply his second try just four minutes from time.
It was sweet for the 21-year-old winger from Dewsbury, who had to bide his time last season behind Lineham but is now beginning to flourish.
“There was two good young English wingers up against each other there,” admitted Radford.
“It was a good battle and it was personal.
“I think there was plenty of head-rubbing and woo-hooing after every incident! I’m pleased for Curtis, hopefully he can keep progressing.”
Radford continued: “It was a quality performance against real quality opposition; they are top for a reason.
“The brand of footy they play is really attractive and we knew we’d have to be right on our game to get a result.
“We had 11 kids out there from Hull, too, which is pleasing, and to back up from Friday’s performance is super impressive.”
Sneyd opened the scoring in the seventh minute, his delicate chip over the defensive line landing perfectly in his grasp for him to just beat onrushing Warrington full-back Jack Johnson to the ball and scurry in from 20m out. But England prop Chris Hill slipped Sandow through from halfway, Currie eventually supplying Ryan Atkins with the try, Sandow converting.
Hull’s defence, for once, was soft when Lineham bustled over from a penalty restart 10m out, but Sneyd attacked the line wonderfully to create space for Jamie Shaul to arc through for Hull’s second try.
Back-to-back tries conceded at the end of the first period, though, via Kevin Penny and a glorious score from Sandow, whose sidestep left Shaul befuddled after being sent clear by Ben Westwood, left them staring at that 20-10 scoreline.
Furthermore, when Shaul twice alarmingly ignored clear try-scoring overlaps in the second period, you sensed Warrington would not let them be so profligate.
But Naughton got his first after Sneyd’s deft hands unleashed the impressive Washbrook, and then Shaul atoned by dinking a grubber through for Yeaman in the 58th minute. There was still plenty more drama but it was Hull who emerged with a third successive win.
Hull FC: Shaul; Lancaster, Michaels, Yeaman, Naughton; Abdull, Sneyd; Watts, Houghton, Bowden, Ellis, Hadley, Washbrook. Substitutes: Taylor, Paleaaesina, Green, Turgut.
Warrington Wolves: Johnson; Lineham, R Evans, Atkins, Penny; Ratchford, Sandow; Hill, Clark, Sims, Currie, Hughes, Westerman. Substitutes; Westwood, King, Patton, Cox.
Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham),