Wigan 66 Hull 6: Tomkins lifts gloom over Wigan as Hull hangover kicks in

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The Independent Online

Wigan began to rebuild their relationship with their disillusioned supporters, although even they would admit that this was a very good night to play Hull.

After three increasingly humiliating defeats, the Warriors found the perfect opponents in a team that won their Challenge Cup semi-final against Wakefield last week and were still somewhere between cloud nine and Wembley rather than the JJB Stadium.

Wigan, with the help of a hat-trick from Joel Tomkins and a 24-point contribution from Pat Richards, took full advantage, but they will not delude themselves into thinking their troubles are over after one victory over such uncommitted opposition. The Hull coach, Richard Agar, called it "a shocking effort. The final score line flattered us.'"

Wigan, booed off last week after losing 34-4 to Huddersfield, got off to a flyer, thanks to Hull's distracted mood. After only four minutes Trent Barrett put a kick into the corner, Matt Sing allowed it to bounce and Richards was left with the simplest of tries. Five minutes later Craig Hall lost the ball in the tackle, Wigan applied the pressure and Mickey Higham went over for a second converted try.

Cameron Phelps added a third and though Richards missed the kick and also hit the post with a penalty, Hull were such a shambles defensively that further points seemed a mere formality.

So it proved when, after another fumbled ball, Iafeta Paleaaesina forced his way over. It was all too easy, especially when Barrett's short pass sent Tomkins over without a hand laid on him.

The first try of the second-half featured some magic from Barrett, taking a difficult low pass from Tim Smith and somehow getting it one-handed to Thomas Leuluai.

Jamie Thackray got one back for Hull, but Tomkins, whose younger brother scored five on his Wigan debut earlier this season, showed power and footwork to get his second.

He was closely followed by number two for Richards before Tomkins completed his hat-trick just after the hour. Two tries by George Carmont and one from Paleaaesina completed the rout.

Wigan's Brian Noble felt that his team had gone part of the way to answering their critics. "Some of the things said about them this week have been a bit unfair," he said "I thought we were very vigorous tonight."

Wigan: Mathers; Calderwood, Phelps, Carmont, Richards; Barrett, Leuluai; Fielden, Higham, Coley, Bailey, Hansen, Tomkins. Substitutes: Paleaaesina, Colbon, O'Carroll, Smith.

Hull: Hall; Sing, Horne, Yeaman, Raynor; Washbrook, Lee; Dowes, Berrigan, Carvell, Radford, Tickle, Manu. Substitutes: Briscoe, Cusack, Thackray, Houghton.

Referee: B Thaler (Wakefield).

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