Wigan Warriors 24-10 Hull FC: Liam Marshall scores twice in Wollongong
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 10/02/18 2:04pm
Wigan's gamble in taking a Super League match outside Europe for the first time paid off as they beat Hull FC 24-10 in Wollongong.
The Warriors, who forfeited home advantage to take the match to WIN Stadium, overcame an injury-hit Hull thanks largely to winger Liam Marshall's two early tries.
The match contained a plethora of handling errors in the muggy conditions but also plenty of thrills and drama as the 2017 Challenge Cup finalists beat the drum for Super League in one of Australia's rugby league heartlands in front of an encouraging crowd of 12,416.
Hull were happy to play their part in the pioneering venture but little went right for them from the start as they lost new signing Bureta Faraimo with a head injury after only two minutes, while skipper Danny Houghton and back rower Mark Minichiello went off in the second quarter.
Utility back Jake Connor moved onto the right wing in place of Faraimo but he was nowhere to be seen when Marshall sped down the flank for his first try after second rower Liam Farrell had split the Hull defence.
Connor was well off the pace when Marshall raced clear for his second after centre Oliver Gildart had this time come up with the break.
Sam Tomkins added one conversion and struck an upright with another as the Warriors led 10-0 but winger Fetuli Talanao, who scored a hat-trick in Hull's opening win over Huddersfield, produced an acrobatic finish on 23 minutes to pull a try back.
At the time it seemed a minor inconvenience for a Wigan side looking full of invention through the creativity of Tomkins, who switched between full-back and scrum-half, and England stand-off George Williams.
Marshall twice went close to completing his hat-trick while centre Dan Sarginson looked a certain try scorer until Connor came up with a last-gasp tackle on the line.
And the misses began to look costly when a defensive mix-up between Marshall and Escare gifted a try to Hull substitute Jordan Abdull.
With Mark Sneyd kicking his first conversion, the Black and Whites were suddenly somehow level, although a Tomkins penalty two minutes before half-time enabled Wigan to turn around with a 12-10 lead.
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That quickly became 18-10 as substitute Ryan Sutton crashed over for Wigan's third try four minutes into the second half.
Albert Kelly remained a threat for patched-up Hull, who were plucky to the end, but there was no way back for them once prop Ben Flower barrelled his way over for Wigan's fourth try on 68 minutes.
Both teams finished the game with 12 men after Tomkins and Griffin were sin-binned by Australian referee Matt Cecchin, following an ill-tempered fracas.