Quinnell keeps Wigan rolling

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The Independent Online
Dave Hadfield sees Hull's era end in defeat with a mighty display by a recent convert to rugby league

Scott Quinnell gave Graeme West a potential Wembley selection problem that any other coach would envy with a reminder that power games are played on the pitch as well.

Quinnell made a late, and in all probability unsuccessful claim for a Challenge Cup final place next Saturday with his first rugby league hat- trick in the first team in the 66-16 home defeat of Hull.

The former Wales and British Lions forward does not rate his Wembley chances highly. "There is an international pack of forwards ahead of me," he said, and West gave a pretty clear indication that the time is not yet right for him.

For all that, this was a mighty performance by Quinnell, who showed fearsome strength in going over for his three tries. Nothing demonstrated his emergence as a league player to better advantage, though, than the 40-yard run with which he returned the compliment to Craig Murdock, who had provided him with the passes for all his touchdowns.

It comes as a relief at this stage of the game's political infighting to be able to concentrate on Murdock rather than Murdoch, even though the Wigan scoreboard has mysteriously started to spell the scrum-half's surname with an "H" rather than a "K".

The overwhelming nature of Wigan's win, even with only half of their Wembley line up in action, underlines the fact that taking players who are not good enough and sticking a Super League badge on them is not automatically going to produce a more even competition.

Hull may or may not merge with Hull Kingston Rovers. In either event, they could be as far away from competing adequately at this level next season as they have been this.

To their credit, they battled away to what may be the bitter end for the club in its present form. They were applauded from the field by Wigan's supporters for that, while their own long-suffering fans showed that they can still raise a few choruses of "Old Faithful" alongside the inevitable chants of "We'll never merge with Rovers".

Wigan's only problem now is who to leave out, with Barrie-Jon Mather also making a bid for a place on the bench with his long striding runs. Hull followers, who still managed one of the louder cheers of the day at the news that Rovers were losing at Leigh, would love to support a club in such difficulties.

Wigan: Atcheson; Radlinski (Tuigamala, 70), Tuigamala (Connolly, h-t) Mather, Offiah; Long, Murdock; Skerrett, (O'Connor, 29) Hall, Cowie, Quinnell, Cassidy, (Skerrett, 66), Farrell.

Hull: Gray; McKenzie, Endacott, David, Vaikona; Danby, Hewitt; (Windley, 45), Street, Dixon, Wilson (Walker, 66) Jackson, Walker (Aston, 45) Nolan.

Referee: C Morris (Huddersfield).

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