Super League Round Six – Friday 20th March – Hull 33 Catalan 22 – KC Stadium
There was a real sense of relief at the KC Stadium last night as Hull FC finally registered two competition points in a sometimes stylish performance, seeing off French side Catalan Dragons to record a 33-22 victory.
Winless since the opening day win at Huddersfield, and after a brief spell at the bottom of the league, Lee Radford’s Black and Whites showed enough class to dispose of the Perpignan based outfit, scoring half a dozen try’s, plus a one pointer from the ever reliable left boot of Marc Sneyd.
Though it took a while for the home side to click into gear, a dour spectacle of a first quarter was punished as Vincent Duport opened the scoring, despite the hosts having the vast majority of early field position, and chances. Though behind a slow ruck, execution proved difficult, and as each unthreatening set went by, frustration upped in the crowd.
You sensed change was needed, and the introduction of Jordan Thompson and Chris Green gave Hull the spark they craved. There was a buzz in the air and following on from a fortunate try for Marc Sneyd – his first for the club – the hosts started to turn it on.
The play of the ball was noticeably quicker, Hull started to win the ruck, and dominate. It was telling, and points were to come. Just like he did against the same opposition at the same venue last season Jordan Rankin scored an absolute blinder, breaking the line and rounding Morgan Escare for a superb try. Hull with a stride in their wake were a different side, and scored back to back try’s with a first for the club for Steve Michaels, who was a danger all night, a real speed demon, he certainly knows his way to the white line – the irony.
Everyone’s favourite binman Fetuli Talanoa then went over untouched, thanks to the first of many sweeping, and startling back line moves. The winger’s work rate as usual was significant, and his ability to beat the first man freakish. Tuli is loved in West Hull and with performances like that you can see exactly why.
Though despite a 10-15 minute onslaught Hull gave themselves a right kick in the teeth after the hooter, as a desire to keep the ball alive went punished by Dragons veteran Thomas Bosc. What should have resulted in safety first was punished, and took a slight glamour off an encouraging first half performance – at least the second quarter of it.
However a brief brain explosion was to be a minor blip as Hull re-entered the field in blistering fashion. The next two scores were vintage, it was breath-taking rugby league, and the sort of ruthlessness those locals at the KC Stadium are yearning to see.
Leon Pryce, well into his 30s he may be, but my god he’s still got it, he’s a danger, he’s a threat and he knows the ‘dark arts’ of the game to perfection. Linking up superbly with Marc Sneyd and Jordan Rankin, space was created for flying pig Tom Lineham, who scored the first of his brace for a truly exceptional try. A shade of the ‘Wigan structure’ of two years ago, the wedge play was perfected, and it got the crowd on their feet.
Hull FC weren’t done, and a play almost of de-ja-vu resulted in a second for Tommy the Tank, an excellent finish, and started with a pass from first receiver from prop Mickey Paea – who are this Black and White imposters you say?
Hull could and maybe should have had a few more, but six efforts wasn’t a bad way to return to winning form. Two consolations – either side of a Marc Sneyd drop goal – from first Morgan Escare and then Zeb Taia made the result look more respectable, but it was Hull’s night, recording an eleven point victory.
Great to see former hooker and Challenge Cup winning captain Richard Swain back in Hull
Hull Starting XIII: 32. Jordan Rankin, 2. Tom Lineham, 19. Steve Michaels, 4. Kirk Yeaman, 5. Fetuli Talanoa, 6. Leon Pryce, 7. Marc Sneyd, 8. Paea, 9. Houghton, 22. Josh Bowden, 11. Gareth Ellis, 12. Mark Minichiello, 13. Joe Westerman. Interchange: 10. Liam Watts, 14. Feka Paleaaesina, 15. Chris Green, 16. Jordan Thompson.
Tries: Sneyd, Rankin, Michaels, Talanoa, Lineham 2. Goals: Sneyd 4/6 DG: Sneyd
Catalan Starting XIII: 1. Morgan Esacre, 5. Michael Oldfield, 20. Damien Cardace, 3. Willie Tonga, 2. Vincent Duport, 6. Todd Carney, 14. Thomas Bosc, 8. Oliver Elima, 9. Ian Henderson, 10. Remi Casty, 11. Zeb Taia, 17. Elliot Whitehead, Jason Baitieri. Interchange: 12. Louie Anderson, Jeff Lima, Eior Pelissier, Jermaine Bousquet.
Catalan Tries: Duport, Bosc, Escare, Taia. Goals: Bosc 3/4
Referee: Phil Bentham