Wigan Warriors 19 Hull FC 18: Harry Smith’s late drop-goal denies Hull

Exciting full-back Jai Field again showed his class but Wigan needed a drop-goal from Harry Smith two minutes from the end to secure a 19-18 victory over Hull.

Exciting full-back Jai Field again showed his class but Wigan needed a drop-goal from Harry Smith two minutes from the end to secure a 19-18 victory over Hull.

Field scored the first and last tries of a thrilling encounter at the DW Stadium, taking his tally to nine in seven Super League matches so far this year, to lift the Warriors to the top of the table, at least for 24 hours.

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Hull scored two tries in seven minutes just before half-time to take the lead and were also in front when impressive half-back Joe Lovodua created a try for Chris Satae as they pushed the Warriors all the way.

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com - 31/03/2022 - Rugby League - Betfred Super League: Round 7 - Wigan Warriors vs Hull FC - DW Stadium, Wigan, England - Hull FCâ€TMs Chris Satae scores a try.

The home side began impressively and took the lead after three minutes when Field chimed into the line and dummied his way over for the game’s first try.

Zak Hardaker could not add the conversion but succeeded with a penalty after 15 minutes after Hull were pulled up for a ball steal in front of the posts.

The Warriors’ bright opening probably warranted a bigger lead but Hull’s defence held firm and they gradually worked their way into the contest.

Prop Ligi Sao and the returning Luke Gale both had chances as Wigan failed to heed the warning signs and conceded two tries in the last seven minutes of the half.

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com - 31/03/2022 - Rugby League - Betfred Super League: Round 7 - Wigan Warriors vs Hull FC - DW Stadium, Wigan, England - Hull FCâ€TMs Jake Connor kicks out at Wiganâ€TMs Oliver Partington as he catches the ball.

Quick hands from Jake Connor and Josh Griffin got winger Adam Swift over at the corner and Lovodua supported a break by centre Mitieli Vulikijapani, who was deputising for the injured Carlos Tuimavave, to get hooker Danny Houghton over.

Gale added both conversions to make it 12-6 at the break but Wigan levelled seven minutes into the second half through substitute back rower Ethan Havard, with Hardaker adding the two.

Hull regained the lead just short of the hour, Lovodua was again the architect with a lovely half-break and neat offload to get Satae over.

Captain Gale’s third goal re-established his side’s six-point lead but Field’s second try, improved by Hardaker levelled it up before Smith bagged the decisive one-pointer.

“It was a tough contest,” said coach Brett Hodgson. “We’re disappointed because we were in a position to win that game.

“I’m unbelievably proud of the effort after a short turnaround. We only had the captain’s run to prepare for that game. It was a lot about getting up mentally and I thought we did that.

“We had more than enough chances to wrap it up when 18-12 up, but we probably weren’t clinical enough to shut it out.

“But I’m not too disheartened because we were good enough to win.

“A classy player on the opposition hurt us twice, which was the difference.

“We spoke about stopping him, but it’s harder to do it than talk about it.”

Wigan: Field, Hardaker, Bateman, Bibby, Marshall, Cust, Smith, Singleton, Powell, Byrne, Isa, Farrell, Smithies. Substitutes: French, Mago, Partington, Havard.

Hull FC: Connor, Swift, Vulikijapani, Griffin, McIntosh, Lovodua, Gale, Sao, Houghton, Satae, Savelio, Ma’u, Lane. Substitutes: Brown, Fash, Johnstone, Wynne.

Referee: Robert Hicks (RFL)