Hull FC produced a magnificent team performance as they hammered Catalans Dragons 50-10 in Perpignan to strengthen their grip on third place in the Super League table. Here’s how the action unfolded.
Hull were at their irresistible best, racking up 50 points and scoring eight tries, as they eased past Catalans who slumped to a fourth consecutive defeat in all competitions.
Despite falling behind to an early Sam Tomkins try, Hull responded with tries from Albert Kelly and Joe Westerman.
Lewis Tierney kept Catalans within touching distance before tries from Andre Savelio and Josh Griffin put the Airlie Birds 16 points ahead at the interval.
Further scores from Kieran Buchanan, Ratu Naulago, a second try for Griffin and Jamie Shaul, after the break, completed an excellent win for the visitors who ran in eight tries. Marc Sneyd was also perfect from the kicking tee, kicking nine goals.
Tomkins touched down on his 200th Super League appearance, just eight minutes into the contest, when Michael McIlorum’s kick ricocheted off Jake Connor and into the full-back’s path before easily converting his own score.
That try sprung Hull into life however, with the superb Kelly dotting down for the visitors on 13 minutes. Connor made an excellent break down Hull’s right-hand side before finding Naulago with a stunning pass out of the back of his hands. Naulago then found Kelly who forced his way over the line, with Sneyd adding the extras.
A needless penalty for an illegal strip allowed Sneyd to take an easy two points and edge Hull into the lead on 19 minutes before Kelly produced another piece of magic.
The Australian-born half-back produced a jinking run out of dummy-half before making a basketball-style pass to Westerman, who went over for an easy try underneath the posts with Sneyd remaining perfect from the kicking tee.
Catalans hit back on the half-hour mark when Tierney’s wonderful step inside of two Hull FC defenders created room for him to dive over but Tomkins was unable to add the extras from a tricky angle.
Interchange Savelio then scored with his first touch of the game, running out of dummy-half before stretching out at full-length to dot the ball down on the try line, and score his first try for the club with Sneyd as precise as ever with the boot.
Hull rounded off an excellent first-half display with a magnificent try on 38 minutes. Josh Griffin made a huge break down the left before finding Sneyd in-field. Despite being caught in possession, Sneyd produced a quick offload into the hands of Bureta Faraimo who returned the ball to Griffin who completed a wonderful team move.
The second period continued in the same vein when 20-year-old Buchanan went over for his first Super League try after some good work from Danny Houghton and Griffin.
The rout continued when Naulago intercepted Tomkins dangerous kick, collecting the ball inside his own in-goal area, before running the length of the field to touch down on 53 minutes with Sneyd kicking his seventh goal of the match.
Griffin doubled his try tally for the evening on the hour mark when he picked up a loose pass before shrugging off Sam Kasiano and the attention of Tomkins to extend the visitors lead.
Full-back Shaul scored Hull’s eighth and final try when he stepped away from Tomkins and sped away to finish underneath the sticks with Sneyd’s extras taking Hull to the 50-point mark.
Hull on a roll
Having endured an incredible 13-game losing run that started at the back end of last season, Hull have finally rediscovered their best form. The tries scored by Josh Griffin and Ratu Naulago were simply stunning pieces of rugby league, oozing class and quality. The Airlie Birds have now won six of their last seven games and are well on course to reach the end of season play-offs and potentially a third Challenge Cup final in four years.
Whilst the likes of Albert Kelly, Marc Sneyd and Jamie Shaul may usually grab the headlines for Hull FC, young centre Kieran Buchanan produced an excellent performance in France. The 20-year-old managed to cross for his first Super League try and looked very strong in defence as well, playing with a head well above his age. Hull born and bred, Buchanan is certainly one to watch out for in the future.
What next for Catalans?
After being beaten at home by London Broncos, at the time bottom of Super League, last time out, it was yet another dismal home performance from the Dragons. They seemed to lack the energy and desire that has helped them remain towards the top of the table for the majority of the season with Hull simply outworking Catalans all over the pitch. It’s now four defeats on the bounce for Steve McNamara’s side who will need to buck their ideas up if they want to secure an end of season play-off spot.
Stade Gilbert Brutus no longer a fortress
Catalans have lost four of the nine Super League games they have played in Perpignan this season proving that the Stade Gilbert Brutus has lost the fear factor it once used to possess. The club need to work hard to make their home stadium the fortress it once was if they are to mount a genuine challenge to win Super League this season. Chairman Bernard Guasch’s glum expression in the stands perfectly summed up the French outfit’s recent performances on home soil.
Tries: Tomkins, Tierney
Drop Goals: n/a
Hull FC 50
Tries: Kelly, Westerman, Savelio, Griffin 2, Buchanan, Naulago, Shaul
Goals: Sneyd 9
Drop Goals: n/a
Catalans Dragons: Tomkins, Yaha, Mead, Wiliame, Tierney, Langi, Smith, Bousquet, McIlorum, Moa, Jullien, Garcia, Casty
Interchanges: Simon, Goudemand, Maria, Kasiano
Hull FC: Shaul, Naulago, Connor, Buchanan, Faraimo, Kelly, Sneyd, Green, Houghton, Paea, Manu, Griffin, Westerman
Interchanges: Taylor, Bowden, Fash, Savelio