Hull 54 Wigan 12: Hull run riot to leave Noble's novices adrift at foot of the table

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The Independent Online

Coaches come and coaches go, but Wigan's wretched season just goes from bad to worse. All the progress made in Brian Noble's first match in charge evaporated in the second as a woeful defence and an inability to take chances were ruthlessly exploited. Hull scored seven tries in the first half.

Hull, with their own new coach to impress in Peter Sharp, were inspired but Wigan must realise now that their recovery has not yet begun.

"I thought they would come out with a spring in their stride, but we just got such a good start and blew them off the pitch," said Sharp. "That was as good a first half as I've seen in a very long time."

Naturally, Noble saw it in a different light. "They were like rabbits in the headlights," he said. "But I was really pleased with the way they responded in the second half."

Wigan's new signing, Nathan McAvoy, could conceivably have had a hat-trick in the first half, but knocked on twice and was tackled into touch. Whenever he or his team-mates did anything wrong they were punished, starting with the fourth-minute try from Lee Radford that put Hull ahead.

"I'm confident that the team can play with the ball, but we executed poorly and dropped the ball with the tryline begging," said Noble. "If you don't take your opportunities in Super League, they can come back and haunt you."

Tries followed from Kirk Yeaman, Kirk Dixon and two each from Nathan Blacklock and Motu Tony, the scoring spree among the back line showing all too clearly where Wigan's tackling frailties lay.

To make matters worse, Paul Cooke, who tormented Wigan with his long passing, kicked every goal, several from the touchline.

Wigan had the consolation of drawing the second half, tries by Pat Richards and Jordan James balancing one from Richard Horne and a second from Dixon, but four points now separate them from next week's opponents, Castleford.

Hull: Tony; Blacklock, Domic, Yeaman, Dixon; Cooke, Horne; Dowes, Swain, Thackray, Radford, McMenemy, Washbrook. Substitutes used: King, Higgins, Brough, Briscoe.

Wigan: Ashton; Richards, Brown, Goulding, McAvoy; Orr, Moran; Paleaaesina, Higham, Seuseu, Fletcher, Tickle, O'Loughlin. Substitutes used: Hargreaves, Godwin, James, Wilkes.

Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield).

* Henry Paul made a winning return to rugby league on Saturday, playing over half the game and kicking a goal in Harlequins' 22-16 victory over Huddersfield at the Twickenham Stoop.

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