Magic Weekend Finishes With A Bang As Hull FC Complete Unlikely Comeback

Hull FC beat Warrington Wolves 30-18 in a thriller at St James' Park
18:51, 04 Jun 2023

Hull FC put in a spectacular second half performance to prevent Warrington Wolves returning to the top of the Betfred Super League table as Magic Weekend came to a thrilling close. 

Tony Smith must have given an inspirational teamtalk at half-time as his side, who were under the cosh for the entirety of the first half, came out and put the Wire to the sword in a 30-18 win. It was a second half display not many saw coming after Warrington got the first two scores of the match. 

Wolves started with major intent as they pressed forward and a cross-field kick from George Williams saw Connor Wrench rise highest to claim for touching down over the line. Stefan Ratchford added the extras and the Wire were off to the perfect start. George Williams then capitalised on an error in the middle from Hull FC and his high pressure allowed him to kick the ball forward before crossing the try line. 

For most punters, this is what was expected given how strong Warrington have been this season. They continued to pile on the pressure but Hull held them off against the odds and then they pulled one back as a cross-field kick of their own wasn’t dealt with by the Wire defence and Danny Houghton was there to pick up the pieces and cross from close range. 

From that point though, they were forced onto the back foot until the 35th minute. Key tackle after key tackle came in and they kept Warrington at bay, before the hooter sounded to give them some relief. If you expected more of the same in the second half, you would be proved wrong as Hull came out fighting. 

Remember, this was a Hull side that lost seven in a row earlier in the season and Smith has been proved right as he asked for fans to be patient with his side. Now they can count themselves as contenders for a top six spot after a sparkling second half. 

Josh Griffin looked like he had crossed moments after the interval but he was just held up off the turf but Hull FC’s attacking intent did pay off as Adam Swift raced onto a kick to cross in the corner. 

The tidal wave of pressure, cheered on by the thousands of fans from the east coast, paid off after a wonderful delayed pass from Jake Clifford gave Josh Griffin the space he needed to slice through the Warrington defence and put his side in front. Clifford got up to convert and Hull all of a sudden had a 16-12 lead. 

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Just a few minutes later, Griffin made it back to back tries in front of their fans as a clever left-footed kick from Truman provided an overload and a sheer weight of numbers allowed Griffin to extend the lead from close range. Clifford struck the post with his conversion attempt, but Hull led 20-12 having enjoyed a remarkable start to the second half.

Warrington responded before the hour mark as Wrench got his second of the afternoon as Hull found themselves outnumbered on the left. Swift then saved a certain Wire try with a remarkable recovery run and just as it looked as though the Wire would roar back into contention, Tex Hoy broke away for Hull FC. With some sensational breakaway rugby, Hoy broke away from three tackles before playing it inside to Swift who went inside to Griffin who had enough in the tank to complete his first hat-trick since 2019. 

A long kick and a mishandle from Dufty put Hull right up the pitch with a fresh set of six they sealed the win as Tex Hoy made a darting run through the defence to take advantage of his opposite number’s error. It was the try Hull were desperate for, and in truth, no less than they deserved after a terrific second half performance at St James’ Park.

There was another piece of good news as Magic Weekend ended in style as 63,269 people turned up in Newcastle, the best figure since 2018. As the question continues to be asked as to whether this is a sensible venue for rugby league, the combination of a brilliant atmosphere and a game like this one, makes Magic Weekend what it is. 

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