It was meant to be so cut and dried, the lambs of youth from the KC Stadium, to the slaughter by the battle hardened Warriors at the DW Stadium, but somebody forgot to tell the kindergarten team.
The regulation stuff was out the way early 6-0, 12-0, 18-0 in half an hour and inevitability seemed to be taking over with slightly slower intent than was expected but intent all the same, but still the youngsters, with their smattering of experienced players stuck to their guns.
The game plan seemed simple for Hull FC, frustrate Wigan as much as possible but suddenly they also needed to find some attacking intent or just lay down and let the home side have their wicked way and boost their points difference to the sort of magnitude that was still expected of them.
Then the Warriors learned a lesson as the break approached, if you over-elaborate near the Hull line and put the ball down, don’t do it when Jamie Shaul is in the vicinity, they did and 95 meters later they were no longer looking at keeping Lee Radford’s men scoreless.
Goal one, getting points on the board, achieved and within a blink of an eye the hugely enthusiastic kids were becoming a cat among pigeon’s as young Jack Logan made two England internationals and an assured full-back look badly out of place in a team of all the talents as he brushed them away with embarrassing ease.
A six point deficit at half-time was not supposed to be even contemplated let alone a genuine reality, as evidenced by the beast of the dugout prowling the touchline licking his lips at the opportunity to get his malfunctioning machine down the tunnel to the changing room.
With energy and direction plus a bundle of desire the young men came back out for the second half and continued to answer the questions asked of them despite the seeming lowering of the energy among the elder statesmen, Shaun Wane’s men were supposed to have them beat within the first 20 minutes of the match, surely the first 20 minutes of the second half would be decisive!?
The answer to that was a massively emphatic no, even the video referee couldn’t help the Lancashire outfit when a teenager was taken down by a prop in front of the posts.
Soon after that the prop did get on the score sheet, would that, or the surprise two points that were taken with relish shortly afterwards to give them a 14 point lead with a palpable sense of relief, be definitive?
Of course it wasn’t as simple as that, the Airlie Birds kept making more clean breaks than you normally see in a hospital accident and emergency department and the threat of tries was ever-present around the team wearing black and purple and what duly followed seemed, and indeed was, genuinely inevitable.
With thoughts of giving their points difference a major boost gone, you imagined the Warriors just concentrating on taking the sting out of the team with an average age of 21, which was pushed up by a 32 and a 33-year-old.
Then up step international cap contender Liam Watts with a big reminder of his outstanding quality and pace as the mercury level in the stadium was increased and then the reliable left foot of Marc Sneyd put the ball in the hands of Jordan Rankin and a try on the plate for the young Australian.
Surely now we could get back to normal, well until Danny Houghton’s right boot gave Logan the opportunity to leave another England international, Josh Charnley, floundering in his jet-heeled wake to make it a two point ball game.
Towards the end the home side were playing for time, desperate to hold on to their ill-deserved lead but, with the help of their departing left winger and the video referee, hold onto it they did after several squeaks of their collective cherry and white bum.
Lee Radford said: “We’re nearly there… and it’s up to us to turn that nearly into a do.”
Playing like this the silver polish will be staying locked away in Wigan again barring miracles, but a question remains and has a growing amount of voices and evidence, is an academy merger really any benefit to Super League side Hull FC on this evidence? Answers on a postcard.
The advice is watch out for the next update on Friday night when Huddersfield Giants head to Hull if you think anymore evidence is required?