In-form Hull FC will look to extend their winning run to four games, whilst Catalans will attempt to snap a three-game losing streak having suffered a surprise defeat to London Broncos last time out, as the battle for third spot in Super League intensifies. If it comes anything close to their meeting in Perpignan back in April, we should be in for a treat. Here’s everything you need to know.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
The French side’s last victory came at Magic Weekend against Wakefield almost a month ago, losing three on the bounce since that success. That includes a 51-8 hammering at the hands of their oppponents this Saturday in the Challenge Cup and will want to bounce back in Perpignan after suffering a disappointing defeat to London last week. Victory for the Dragons would see them leapfrog Hull in the table and move back into third.
In stark contrast, Hull FC are in fine form, having won their last three matches and five of their last six. They were excellent last time out against Castleford but will be wary of the threat Catalans pose, having lost to the French side 37-6 at the KCOM Stadium at the beginning of May, in Super League, before exacting their revenge in the Challenge Cup. They will also want to maintain their grip on third place, sitting two points above Catalans in the table.
Former Hull FC man Sam Moa returns to the squad to face his old side, with Michael McIlorum also back in the squad, with both players returning from injury.
Back-rower Jason Baitieri is ruled out through suspension after being handed a one-match ban for a dangerous tackle during last week’s defeat to London.
The Dragons also have an extensive injury list with Greg Bird, Kenny Edwards, Brayden Wiliame, Lewis Tierney, Matt Whitley, Lucas Albert and Lambert Belmas all missing.
Sam Tomkins is in line to make his 200th Super League appearance.
Catalans 19-man squad: Gigot, Broughton, Mead, Langi, Smith, Casty, McIlorum, Moa, Garcia, Bousquet, Simon, Jullien, Da Costa, Goudemand, Maria, Romano, Yaha, Kasiano, Tomkins.
Sika Manu has recovered from a dead leg to return to the squad with Josh Griffin also returning to the side following his one-match suspension. Josh Bowden is also included in Lee Radford’s 19-man squad having been rested last week.
Back-rower Mark Minichiello has been prevented from travelling to Perpignan with a groin strain with Jack Brown and Jez Litten also dropping out of the squad.
Gareth Ellis, Carlos Tuimavave, Jordan Lane, Jack Logan, Matty Dawson-Jones and Jack Sanderson are all still missing through injury.
Hull 19-man squad: Shaul, Faraimo, Griffin, Kelly, Sneyd, Taylor, Houghton, Bowden, Hadley, Westerman, Connor, Green, Fash, Manu, Paea, Washbrook, Naulago, Savelio, Buchanan.
HEAD TO HEAD
The side’s have already met three times this season with Hull claiming two victories to Catalans’ one. Marc Sneyd scored a golden-point extra time drop-goal to claim a dramatic 31-30 victory for the Airlie Birds in Perpignan back in April.
Catalans won the next meeting between the two sides with a highly impressive 37-6 victory in Hull at the start of May before FC romped to a 51-8 win against Catalans in the Challenge Cup at the end of May.
The two teams have met 35 times in Super League with Hull claiming 18 victories to Catalans’ 14 wins, having also played out two draws.
Michael McIlorum (Catalans) v Danny Houghton (Hull FC)
McIlorum’s return to the Catalans’ side gives them an excellent chance of getting back to winning ways. The Ireland international has been sorely missed by the Dragons and his years of experience at both club and international level will be crucial when coming up against someone with plenty of experience himself in the form of Danny Houghton. McIlorum should be able to offer the French side a quicker tempo than in previous games and will set the tone for his side from the first whistle.
Houghton has made a staggering 736 tackles already in Super League this season, more than any other player, and like McIlorum, will look to play with a quick tempo in what should be a fast-paced encounter between two of Super League’s best sides this season. Catalans will also have to be wary of his runs out of dummy-half, attempting nine in his last league meeting with the French side and he provided an assist in their first Super League meeting of the season back in April.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday 22nd June
Venue: Stade Gilbert Brutus
Kick-off: 5:00pm BST
Referee: Robert Hicks
WHO WILL WIN?
The form book suggests Hull should come out on top and given they were the far superior side in the recent Challenge Cup meeting between the pair, and having already won in Perpignan this season, should get the job done to maintain third spot in Super League. However, Catalans have beaten Hull this season and did so in convincing fashion but, with a long list of injuries and being beaten by bottom side London last time out, might struggle again on Saturday. Hull to win by 12 points.