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R28: Dobson kicks Wigan to victory
An imperious kicking display from Michael Dobson helped Wigan Warriors to a commanding 38-16 victory over title-chasing Hull FC on a night of high emotion at the JJB Stadium.
The cherry-and-whites knew they had blown all hopes of reaching the play-offs, but the visitors from the KC Stadium, who had already cemented second spot in the table, had no answer to Dobson and his eager supporting cast.
Dobson, Iafeta Paleaaesina and Chris Ashton (2) grabbed the Wigan scores in a one-sided first half, with youngster Matt Dale registering Hull?s only mark on the scoreboard.
Further tries from Harrison Hansen and Nathan McAvoy put the game beyond doubt at 34-4 and, although Motu Tony and Shaun Briscoe helped restore some degree of respectability to the scoreboard, Gareth Hock?s late try rounded off a great night for the home side.
The Warriors included Brett Dallas, making his final appearance for the club after seven years, in their starting line-up.
Canberra-bound Dobson and Scott Logan were also bidding farewell, while hooker Wayne Godwin had a point to prove as he joins Hull next term.
The visitors fielded a strong side despite knowing they could go no higher in the league table.
The Warriors took the lead on just six minutes when Paleaaesina took a neatly-disguised inside ball from Danny Orr to reach over the line.
Dobson added the goal, and the little scrum-half notched the second try of the night midway through the first half, dummying his way through outrageously from close range, again making no mistake with the goal.
The Humbersiders were showing little of the quality that has seen them record their highest engage Super League finish, although Richard Swain showed they were not lacking fight when he and former team-mate Logan traded punches on halfway after the Wigan man took exception to one particular big hit.
Wigan scored their third try on the half-hour mark when Godwin showed no signs of split loyalties by breaking the line and sending Ashton over, leaving Dobson his easiest kick of the night for an 18-0 lead.
Hull sensed they had to get on the scoreboard before half-time, and they did on the back of a sensational 60-metre run down the field from Gareth Raynor.
The quick stepping of the winger set up solid field position, and Dale touched down in the left-hand corner five minutes ahead of the hooter.
Paul Cooke missed a difficult goal, and the visitors were further deflated when the Warriors crossed for their fourth try on the stroke of half-time.
Dobson?s probing kick split the Hull defence and Ashton was on hand to win the race for the touchdown, with Dobson?s deadly boot opening up a 20-point interval advantage.
The Warriors continued where they left off by extending their lead within three minutes of the restart when Hansen took a short ball from Dobson to crash through two would-be tacklers.
Dobson hit the post with the conversion but added a penalty two minutes later when Swain was penalised for a late hit on Orr, an offence that led to the former New Zealand hooker being sin-binned for 10 minutes.
And Wigan took full advantage on 49 minutes when another Dobson kick was collected by McAvoy to score in the corner to make it 34-4.
Swain returned to the fray with no further damage to the scoreline, and indeed Hull were soon a man up themselves when David Vaealiki was despatched to the cooler for an infringement in the tackle.
The visitors made the one-man advantage pay in the very next set when quick hands right got Tony in at the corner, and Briscoe crossed for his side?s third try when he darted through the centre to score with six minutes remaining, Cooke converting both.
The night belonged to Wigan, though, and Hock crashed over on 77 minutes to round things off, although Dallas? conversion attempt fell agonisingly short as the vast majority of the 16,554 supporters willed it over the bar.
Wigan: 38 (24). Tries: Paleaaesina, Dobson, Ashton 2, Hansen, McAvoy, Hock. Goals: Dobson 5.
Hull: 16 (4). Tries: Dale, Tony, Briscoe. Goals: Whiting, Cooke.
Wigan: Ashton, Calderwood, McAvoy, Vaealiki, Dallas, Orr, Dobson, Paleaaesina, Higham, Fielden, Hock, Fletcher, O?Loughlin. Replacements: Logan, Godwin, Hansen, Tickle.
Hull: Tony, Briscoe, Yeaman, Whiting, Raynor, Cooke, R. Horne, Dowes, Swain, Carvell, Radford, G. Horne, Washbrook. Replacements: Lee, Dale, King, Wheeldon.
Referee: Ben Thaler (Wakefield)