The final game of the opening round of Super League XXVII was the encounter between two sides who were hoping and planning for a big improvement in 2022 as Wakefield Trinity hosted Hull FC as two sides who finished in the bottom half of the table last year looked for a confidence boosting opening weekend win.
A win by over twenty-eight points would see them end the opening weekend at the top of the fledgling table but either of the coaches, Willie Poching or Brett Hodgson, would simply be delighted with a victory and a game free of injuries.
The conditions weren´t conducive to open rugby as the two sides took to a drenched and windswept field.
Hull FC were first to register points with an expansive move when the mercurial Jake Connor found Connor Wynne in support who then put in an inside pass to Luke Gale for the debutant to go over for a four pointer. Gale converted his own try for a 6-0 lead on twelve minutes.
Wakefield weren´t going to give up the points easily and doubled down in defence but couldn´t find any flare in attack to concern the FC line.
A great break from speedster Tom Johnstone, from his own line to within twenty of his opponents established great attacking field position. A fast play the ball saw Jacob Miller feed Corey Hall who threw a dummy and went over under the sticks for Trinity´s first points of the new season. Max Jowitt added the conversion to level the scores with two minutes of the half remaining.
An outrageous dummy from Joe Lovodua with just three minutes on the second half clock saw the second FC debutant through a gap and over next to the uprights. Gale added the conversion for a 12-6 lead.
Darnell McIntosh was at the end of a right to left move as he took a Connor miss-out pass to get over for his own debut try in the black and white, a great afternoon for the FC first timers. Gale was unable to add a third goal to his personal haul, the Airlie Birds 16-6 ahead.
On sixty-five, two minutes after Trinity had a try turned down for a knock-on on the line, Jake Connor was sent off for a contact to the head on Lee Gaskell as referee Griffiths followed the new directive to referees.
The twelve men conceded a second try on sixty-nine as Tom Johnstone scored a trademark try in the corner to get his side within a converted try of FC. Jowitt added the touchline conversion for 12-16, there was everything to play for.
With six minutes remaining Gaskell left the field and Wakefield were down to twelve having used all their possible interchanges.
Hull FC were holding on at the end as they ran down the clock to an opening round win. Miller lost the ball on the halfway line with seconds remaining and possession was back with the visitors, and they held on until the final hooter.
This was a proper early season scrap between two evenly matched sides. Hull will be delighted with their new signings but concerned at the loss of Connor and any potential suspension and Wakefield should be happy with their performance despite the result.
Wakefield Trinity: Jowitt (2G), Lineham, Lyne, Hall (T), Johnstone (T), Gaskell, Miller, Arona, Hood, Fifita, Ashurst, Pitts, Crowther. Subs: Battye, Batchelor, Tanginoa, Kay.
Hull FC: Connor (SO on 65), Swift, Wynne, Scott, McIntosh (T), Reynolds, Gale (T, 2G), Sao, Houghton, Fash, Lane, Savelio, Johnstone. Subs: Brown, Burrell, Lovodua (T), Satae.
Score Progression: 0-4, 0-6, 4-6, 6-6 : HT : 6-10, 6-12, 6-16, (SO), 10-16, 12-16 : FT .
Referee: Marcus Griffiths.