Hull FC sent out a warning that cannot now be ignored by Super League with an impressive dismantling of Catalans Dragons at Stade Gilbert Brutus.
The black and white’s ran in seven tries as the french side, who pride themselves on their home form, were simply ripped apart by a merciless Hull side who are currently scoring tries for the sheer fun of it.
Lee Radford brought in Steve Michaels to replace the injured Mahe Fonua on the wing and captain Gareth Ellis returned on the bench after 7 months out with a snapped achilles to replace the unfortunate Chris Green as the only changes to the team who thumped Salford Red Devils in round one.
The Dragons got the first chance after referee Robert Hicks gave them a penalty for Hull holding down Tony Gigot, from that a grubber kick from Richard Myler was taken dead by Jamie Shaul forcing a goal line drop out.
However that chance was wasted by a knock on from the home side just 20 meters from the Airlie Birds line.
Another penalty presented the french outfit with another chance but again a well-drilled Hull defence kept them at bay when Michaels plucked a Richard Myler bomb out the air and then a soft penalty piggy-backed the black and white’s into the Catalans half.
Finally Hull broke the Dragons defence on the last tackle as a fast move to the left wing saw Fetuli Talanoa stretch over in the corner, Marc Sneyd was unlucky with the touchline conversion hitting the post leaving Hull with a four point lead in the ninth minute.
Another penalty earned Hull more territory but the chance was wasted due to a forward pass from Leon Pryce to Sika Manu giving Catalans a relieving scrum.
Another penalty for the home side gave them another attacking opportunity and former Wigan player Pat Richards crossed the whitewash in the corner to bring them level, the Australian winger was off the mark with the touchline conversion attempt though.
The Dragons tried attacking with speed down their left side again but Vincent Duport lost the ball in a good tackle from Michaels and Jack Logan presenting Hull with a scrum on halfway.
A penalty then allowed them to crank up the pressure and a crabbing run from Mark Minichiello and a slightly fortunate pass found Sika Manu for the former Kiwi international to charge over, the conversion from Sneyd gave them a six point advantage in the 17th minute.
The see-saw nature of the game continued as yet another penalty gave Catalans another opportunity, then the pressure was increased as Sneyd went for an interception but was unable to hold it resulting in a scrum for the Dragons 20 meters out and another chance for Richards saw the winger fortuitously cross in the corner, and this time he was on target with the touchline conversion.
Another penalty for the visitors gave them more territory but a harsh decision against them gave the Dragons a relieving scrum as video referee Thierry Alibert made a controversial call to reverse referee Hicks’ decision.
A dangerous tackle from Dave Taylor and Eloi Pelissier gave Hull another penalty and prop Josh Bowden bashed his way over through three defenders to give the black and white’s the lead again for the third time after 28 minutes, the conversion from Sneyd was straight and true to make it 10-16.
Hull started moving forward again from the kick off and then a touch on a pass from Todd Carney saw the tackle count wiped clean as they entered enemy territory again but a delicate kick from Leon Pryce just avoided Michaels at the corner flag.
A big mistake from Catalans then saw the ball dropped as they were moving away from their line, the ball was picked up by Ellis who then put the pass inside to Jack Logan for the young centre to race through a gaping hole in the Dragons defence, the conversion from Sneyd stretched the lead to 12 points for the men from the KC Stadium.
Catalans then attacked with just over three minutes of the half left and a high kick had to be touched down in-goal by Talanoa to force another goal line drop out but a thunderous hit from Liam Watts floored Dave Taylor when he looked to be getting through and then a nothing kick from Myler went into touch.
Hull then saw out the first half with no real drama in the last couple of minutes of the half to take their deserved lead to the half time break.
The first opportunity of the second half was handed to Hull as the Dragons coughed up possession in their own half but the chance was just missed as Jack Logan was unable to pounce on a grubber to the in-goal on the last tackle.
A break from Carlos Tuimavave saw Hull set-up another attack in Catalans territory and then a penalty gave them another chance to press the home defence but eventually a penalty went the way of the home side from Logan being off-side after a Sneyd kick.
Another harsh decision from the video referee then saw Catalans awarded a scrum 10 meters from the Hull line but strong defence from the Airlie Birds forced another mistake from the french outfit as possession was once again coughed up.
A break in midfield from Gigot then saw Hull’s defence stretched again but a timely tackle from Manu stopped them dead but Pryce was sin-binned for a collision in back play.
The next chance for the Dragons was wasted yet again with a forward pass giving the 12 men a relieving scrum.
Catalans were then penalised after Minichiello was violently pushed in the back by Olivier Elima from which they decided to take the two points on offer which Sneyd duly obliged with to take Hull three scores clear after 55 minutes.
Another penalty for Hull proffered another chance and eventually Ellis crossed to touch down a delicate grubber by Sneyd, the scrum-half then made it a 20 point lead for the men from East Yorkshire with 20 minutes left.
A kick inside from Tuimavave then saw Minichiello tackle Gigot on the line to force a goal line drop out and a fast passing move involving Sneyd and Tuimavave put Talanoa over in the corner for his 2nd try, Sneyd was just wide with the touchline conversion.
Hull then went the full length with a devestating break by Talanoa who then put Jamie Shaul away from just inside his own half for yet another try, Sneyd however was wayward with another conversion leaving the score at 10-38 with 12 minutes left to play.
Gigot then presented Hull with another attacking opportunity as he knocked on a regulation Sneyd kick with nobody near him, another penalty for them then increased the pressure on the home line but the rarity of some organised defending from the Dragons kept them out although they conceded another goal line drop out.
From the drop out Hull attacked but Shaul was denied by the video referee after Talanoa appeared to put a foot in touch before passing the ball inside to the full-back.
From the next Hull attack Catalans were once again embarrassed as Scott Taylor scragged Dragons player Greg Mounis and dragged him back in-goal to force yet another drop out, from the attack from that Talanoa got over in the corner but the clearly corrupt video official harshly ruled it out.
The game ended with some bad-blood after Dave Taylor and Scott Taylor nearly came to blows after a thunderous tackle by the Hull man on the Catalans prop with a few seconds remaining.
Penalties: Catalans 6 Hull 10
Goal Line Drop Outs forced: Catalans 2 Hull 3
Man of the Match: Fetuli Talanoa
- Carlos Tuimavave
- Catalans Dragons
- Chris Green
- Dave Taylor
- Gareth Ellis
- Hull FC
- Jack Logan
- Jamie Shaul
- KC Stadium
- Lee Radford
- Leon Pryce
- Liam Watts
- Marc Sneyd
- Mark Minichiello
- Olivier Elima
- Pat Richards
- Richard Myler
- Robert Hicks
- Salford Red Devils
- Scott Taylor
- Sika Manu
- Stade Gilbert Brutus
- Steve Michaels
- Super League
- Thierry Alibert
- Tony Gigot