Hull 0-10 Wigan: Warriors secure fourth spot

Zak Hardaker of Wigan celebrates his try to make it 0-8
The Black and Whites were kept scoreless in their last home game of the season as they succumbed to an eighth defeat in nine matches and now look certain to finish in a disappointing eighth place in Brett Hodgson’s first season in charge.

Wigan, who still harbour hopes of a second successive Grand Final appearance, knew they could still be overtaken by Castleford if they lost their last two games and they kept their fans waiting for the all-important victory as the teams played out a lacklustre scoreless first half.

Leading scorer Jake Bibby and full-back Zak Hardaker finally got the tries that secured a fourth successive win at the MKM Stadium and with it a home tie in the elimination play-offs.

Hull, who were without hooker Danny Houghton, rarely threatened their visitors’ tryline, particularly in a first half littered with handling errors, which was inexplicable in the perfect conditions.

The only moment of note in a dismal first 40 minutes came in the fifth minute when Wigan failed to deal with a high kick from Jake Connor, again operating at stand-off, and loose forward Manu Ma’u picked up the loose ball to force his way over the line only to be held up.

In a rare cohesive attack, Hardaker managed to put scrum-half Harry Smith into a gap on the Hull 20-metre line but he was brought back for a forward pass.

Hardaker also caught the eye in defence as he cleverly kept the ball in play from Connor’s attempted 40-20 kick while winger Liam Marshall lit up the mundane proceedings with a dart through the middle of the home defence until running out of space.

Thankfully, both sides looked rejuvenated by the break and it was Hull who created the early opportunities in the second half.

Connor got full-back Jamie Shaul into a gap but the Wigan defence scrambled in time and Marshall pulled off a timely interception to halt another dangerous attack.

The visitors, who had centre Oliver Gildart back from injury, weathered the storm and struck in the 52nd minute as Bibby got on the end of Jackson Hastings’ lofted kick to score his 13th try of the season.

Hardaker was wide with the conversion attempt but he more than made amends with his side’s second try, as he chased his own grubber kick on the last tackle and profited from a kind bounce.

The full-back added the conversion this time and Wigan successfully withstood a late onslaught by Hodgson’s men.

Shaul was thrown back from the line and Fijian winger Mitieli Vulikijapani, making his first appearance since July, had a try disallowed for a forward pass.

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