Hodgson shows class as Wigan stun hapless Hull

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The Independent Online

Wigan ensured that they will go into Friday's match against St Helens to decide the Super League leadership with a one point advantage.

Wigan ensured that they will go into Friday's match against St Helens to decide the Super League leadership with a one point advantage.

A predictably comprehensive beating of Hull yesterday was spearheaded by hat-tricks from both wingers. If Jason Robinson's three in 19 minutes of the first half was enough to make Wigan supporters wish there was some way of keeping him out of the clutches of Sale, then the trio scored by the 19-year-old David Hodgson was a glimpse of the future.

You could argue that a line-up without nine first teamers and with seven players under 21 stood no chance from the start. That was certainly the view of most of Hull's supporters - normally good travellers - who gave the JJB Stadium a miss.

But the team did not help itself with a series of fundamental errors, which meant that the match was lost before they could find any sort of rhythm.

Paul Broadbent dropped the ball in the first set of tackles and Andy Farrell's long pass sent Hodgson over with under a minute on the clock.

Six minutes later, Chris Chester's break took him through the tackle of Scott Rhodes, the young scrum-half on loan from Leeds, and Robinson claimed the first of his tries.

His second was a complete gift, Matt Daylight throwing the ball to him virtually on the try-line.

Robinson's third try was pure quality. Willie Peters, another who will be missed regardless of the calibre of the replacements being brought in, getting a perfect pass to Farrell, who in turn sent Robinson racing through a gap.

Immediately before half-time, Farrell's inside pass did the same for Wes Davies and thoughts in the stadium, if not on the pitch, were already turning to Friday.

Wigan, who introduced one of next season's newcomers, Matthew Johns, at half-time, continued to capitalise on Hull's mistakes after the break, Peters going in after Ian Herron became the latest to surrender possession.

The ball was then kept alive on the last tackle for Hodgson to go in at the corner for his second. Wigan's highest score of the season, 68 against Huddersfield-Sheffield, looked in danger, but they failed to take a couple of equally inviting chances before allowing Hull to get on the score board through Daylight.

Suitably reawakened, they resumed the destruction with Farrell's short ball sending Denis Betts storming through. Farrell also provided the pass, albeit on the first bounce, for Gary Connolly and it was Connolly's break that set up Hodgson for his hat-trick with three minutes remaining.

"He's only young and he's got a lot to learn," said Robinson of his wing partner. "He's got rich potential, because he is so keen to learn."

The Wigan coach Frank Endacott, who described Hodgeson as: "A very exciting prospect," admitted that he faces a dilemma at Saints. With Brett Dallas set to return on one wing, Hodgson is likely to find himself left out. It is the sort of dilemma Hull's Shaun McRae would not mind in the closing stages of the season.

Wigan Warriors: Davies; Hodgson, Radlinski, Connolly, Robinson; A Farrell, Peters; O'Connor, Newton, Cowie, Cassidy, Betts, Chester. Substitutes used: Mestrov, Malam, Smith, Gilmour.

Hull FC: Poucher; Herron, Collins, Simon, Daylight; Cooke, Rhodes; Broadbent, King, Felsch, Maher, Fletcher, Grimaldi. Substitutes used: Craven, C Farrell, Last, Carney.

Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).