Challenge Cup final: WIGAN 16 HULL 0 at Wembley Stadium

By STEVE MASCORD

FORMER Wests Tigers assistant Peter Gentle referred to a reporter as a “boofhead” for suggesting he was about to be sacked after seeing his Hull side pummelled in the Challenge Cup final.

Coaching intrigue at the joint venture extends even to former employees, with Gentle – who was scathing in his assessment of his team’s performance in the rain-marred 16-0 shutout – saying the club’s owner Adam Pearson had assured him his job was safe.

New Zealand Warriors target Sam Tomkins scored a wily 79th minute try in one of few highlights of an error-strewn encounter, with Wests Tigers signing Pat Richards booting four from four in front of 78,137 fans.

Asked whether he expected speculation over his position to resurface, Gentle – Tim Sheens’ long-term assistant at Concord – told the post match media conference: “Some boofhead writes something in the paper, it gives you blokes a bad name.

“You should ring him and ask him where he gets it from.

photo (13)England coach Steve McNamara, veteran Aussie Brian Smith and former Hull import Craig Fitzgibbon have been linked to the post. Gentle later told Fairfax: “The owner’s come and seen me, he says he doesn’t know where it’s come from. I’ve got two years to go and he expects me to see them out.

“It’s funny that it came out the week of the (Hull) derby and a fortnight before the Challenge Cup final. I think someone’s playing some silly buggers.”

Persistent rain in London, which washed out play in the Ashes Test, provided one of the most mistake-ridden big games in either hemisphere for years.

Ian Thornley crossed for Wigan after a scrum win on 20 minutes and the score remained at 6-0 for the break.

Shortly after the resumption of play, Richards kicked a penalty goal and he added another on the hour, before Tomkins underscored the victory with a ducking, weaving touchdown from close range at the end.

Media were asked to leave the stadium before Tomkins emerged from the shower, meaning he was not grilled on his plans for 2013 and suggestions he has already signed for the Warriors.

Other highlights included Tomkins cartwheeling spectacularly in the air in a collision with Danny Tickle and Wigan’s Josh Charley running down Hull fullback Jamie Shaul when he looked certain to score.

“The most disappointing thing is we didn’t fire a shot,” said Gentle. “We were guilty of panicking.

“We can probably use the same gameplan (next time against Wigan) because we didn’t get to use it today.

“I didn’t think we could be worse in the second half but the boys proved me wrong.”

Wigan centre Darrell Goulding was carried off on a stretcher but was later reported to have suffered nothing more serious than concussion. Wigan coach Shaun Wane said five or six of his charges “would not have played if it was a Super League game” due to injury, but gave little detail.

Wane has also been linked to an NRL move but his one year contract extension was itself extended by club owner Ian Lenegan after the victory to include 2015.

Wane and his captain, Sean O’Loughlin, said criticism of the club’s squad’s after losing Brett Finch and Jeff Lima last year had galvanised the players.

WIGAN 16 (Ian Thornley, Sam Tomkins tries; Pat Richards 4 goals) beat HULL 0 at Wembley Stadium. Referee: P Bentham. Crowd: 78,137.

Filed for SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

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