Hull FC face Catalans Dragons this Friday night in another crucial Super League battle – with a win taking them four points clear of the French side.
The stakes are high again, but Hull must negotiate the fixture missing sixteen players to injury and other commitments. It’s a testing time for the Airlie Birds, who will face some adversity and must be mentally prepared to face a side that will no doubt want revenge for their Golden Point victory in Perpignan last month.
Connor the main man
There’s no Marc Sneyd and no Albert Kelly, so Jake Connor is the main man against Catalans. It’s usually a role the Snake thrives off, and he’ll be expected to get Hull FC around the park on Friday night.
Jake has the quality, we all know that, so he must get his hands on the ball as frequently as possible. Do that, and there’s a genuine chance of winning.
An opportunity for Kieran Buchanan?
Carlos Tuimavave is out for Friday’s game, and with Connor in the half back role, Hull have two options; hand a debut out to youngster Kieran Buchanan or play a forward in the centre. It’s down to individual preference, but we’d value the former option.
Buchanan will be raw as any player making his debut would be, but he’s a big lad and plays tough. It’s the whole round pegs in round holes dilemma, you can already imagine Sam Tomkins licking his lips if say Jordan Thompson was deployed there.
Wigan would play the young kid so we should too – and not get on his back if the result should go sour.
Hull’s pack is strong – it consists of Scott Taylor, Gareth Ellis, Chris Green, Joe Westerman, Mark Minichiello and Sika Manu. There’s some quality there and the Airlie Birds need a big performance from their big men. If they get that there’s a chance.
It also depends what Catalans you get too. One minute they can look class and genuine play-off contenders and then the next they look like arthritic cardboard cut-outs that would struggle to beat Stevie Wonder. To some extent, that can be said of Hull as well. The performances against Warrington and St Helens weren’t good enough, whilst there’s a realisation here that a win would do wonders for Hull FC’s assault on third place.
Hull are missing a ridiculous 16 players to injury. The most significant of those are half back duo Marc Sneyd and Albert Kelly. Jamie Shaul is also battling concussion, whilst Carlos Tuimavave is also out.
They join Josh Bowden, Andre Savelio, Dean Hadley, Matty Dawson-Jones, Jez Litten, Jordan Lane, Danny Washbrook, Cameron Scott, Jack Brown, Jack Sanderson and Charlie Patterson-Lund on the sidelines. Ratu Naulago is with the Army this weekend.
Hull Squad: 2. Bureta Faraimo, 4. Josh Griffin, 8. Scott Taylor, 9. Danny Houghton, 12. Mark Minichiello, 13. Joe Westerman, 14. Jake Connor, 15. Chris Green, 16. Jordan Thompson, 19. Masimbaashe Matongo, 20. Brad Fash, 21. Sika Manu, 23. Mickey Paea, 24. Jack Logan, 29. Levy Nzoungou, 31. Liam Harris, 34. Gareth Ellis, 36. Connor Wynne, 38. Kieran Buchanan.
1. Tony GIGOT, 4. Brayden WILIAME, 6. Samisoni LANGI, 7. Matty SMITH, 8. Rémi CASTY, 10. Sam MOA, 13. Greg BIRD, 14. Julian BOUSQUET, 16. Benjamin JULLIEN, 17. Matt WHITLEY, 18. Alrix DA COSTA, 19. Mickael GOUDEMAND, 20. Lambert BELMAS, 22. Lucas ALBERT, 24. Jason BAITIERI, 25. Arthur ROMANO, 27. Fouad YAHA, 28. Sam KASIANO, 29. Sam TOMKINS.
Last Five Meetings
2019: Catalans 30, Hull FC 31
2018: Hull FC 20, Catalans 26
2018: Catalans 25, Hull FC 24
2018: Hull FC 42, Catalans 16
2017: Catalans Dragons 23, Hull FC 18
Hull by ten points.