Catalans Dragons 36-8 Hull FC: Highlights, player ratings and talking points

After Wigan and Huddersfield had leaped frog the Dragons last night with statement wins, Catalans came up with a statement victory of their own on the back of a superb first half taking a 20-0 lead.

For Hull FC it was a difficult day in the post-Jake Connor part of their season. There were positives for them to build on however.

Highlights:

Mike McMeeken opens the scoring
The opening few minutes saw the teams at first battle for territory giving each other each other as good as they got but eventually Catalans got a foothold in proceedings down the middle on the back of some astute Mitchell Pearce kicks. After that it was Pearce’s skill which opened up space for McMeeken to finish and open the scoring.

Innovative Dragons
Catalans blended together a quick ruck, a structured play and off the cuff rugby for the second try which it has to be said was a lovely score. After probing runs from Sam Tomkins and Sam Kasiano, Tomkins’ long ball picked out Matthieu Laguerre whose angled run threatened to break open Hull’s defence. They scrambled to get to him but his offload and an even better one from Matt Whitley saw Fouad Yaha score.

Innovative Dragons again
The best way to attack in modern rugby league is with speed, a balanced of directness and width and a willingness to play off the cuff. Catalans showed all those qualities as they scored a third try and a second try in quick succession. This one went to Mickael Goudemand after great work and offloads from Tyrone May – who is only getting better after settling in Super League – and Mitchell Pearce.

Josh Griffin powers over
Hull FC needed to score first in the second half and did so as Hull kept the ball alive picking out Griffin who angled round the defence showing good strength to get the ball down in the corner.

Pearce pass snuffs out hope
That try gave Hull FC some hope but that was extinguished by a lovely Mitchell Pearce cut out ball which put Samisoni Langi in for a try on his return to the side from injury.

McIntosh finishes neat move
Hull FC finished the game fairly strongly and showed their attacking potential with a neat set play down the right involving the entire spine leading to another try for their top scorer Darnell McIntosh.

Mitchell Pearce scores deserved try
Mitchell Pearce dictated things all afternoon as he continues to really find his feet in Super League after a slow start. He showed great feet on the back of a Hull FC error to score a ninth of the season a remarkably large amount for an organiser and a deserved try for their key player. His halfback quickly followed suit as Tyrone May finished a lovely move to wrap up the scoring.

Talking Points:

Hull FC need time
Jamie Shaul has always been a very good fullback with bags of attacking potential, but having not played consistently at fullback since 2020, harnessing that will take some time and that was clear to see in France today. Filling the shoes of someone like Jake Connor is always going to be hard but Shaul has the capacity to do so. The important thing to do is not panic and trust him and the rest of the spine to settle. It’ll come eventually and hopefully for Hull allow them to wrap up a top six spot.

Dragons bounce back with Champion like performance
I spoke a lot on Friday night about how Huddersfield demonstrated the attributes of a modern Super League Champion in the mould of St Helens. They controlled the ruck speed, they were methodical but also had flare in attack when needed. Catalans did the same today. It was a touch different with the Dragons fishing from the lake of offloads more than the Giants, but it was a very accomplished performance which saw the Dragons dominate the middle and play the game at their pace.

Four likely Champions
The top four is beginning to pull itself away from the rest of the league and all four have shown they have the makings of a Champion side. St Helens speak for themselves whilst the Wigan Warriors threaten every any and every side due to their counter attacking potential and have already won a trophy this year. As for Catalans and Huddersfield, they fit the same mould as St Helens in a lot of ways and have what it takes to win it at Old Trafford based on their first halves of the season. It should make for a brilliant race for favourable play-off spots and a superb battle for places in the Grand Final and ultimately the title.

Multi-facetted Dragons
One thing that will help the Dragons in the pursuit of silverware is the versatility of how they can approach a game. For the vast majority of games they will look to be central and about size, but when they need they can throw on Arthur Mourgue as they did today to add speed and threat to the side and a different dimension.

Hull finish strongly
Hull were able to prevent the score from becoming embarrassing in the second half with some stern defence on their own line and chancing their arm a touch more in attack with more offloads and more endeavour. Positives for the Black and Whites to take into the rest of the season and a basis for them to build on in the post-Connor section of their season.

Player Ratings:

Catalans Dragons
29 Sam Tomkins – 8
2 Tom Davies – 7
18 Matthieu Laguerre – 7
3 Samisoni Langi – 8
5 Fouad Yaha – 8
20 Tyrone May – 8
6 Mitchell Pearce – 9
22 Dylan Napa – 7
9 Michael McIlorum – 7
10 Julian Bousquet – 7
11 Matt Whitley – 8
12 Mike McMeeken – 9
13 Ben Garcia – 7
Substitutes
1 Arthur Mourgue – 7
17 Mickael Goudemand – 8
27 Joe Chan – 7
28 Sam Kasiano – 7

Hull FC
29 Jamie Shaul – 6
2 Adam Swift – 5
23 Connor Wynne – 6
3 Carlos Tuimavave – 6
5 Darnell McIntosh – 7
6 Josh Reynolds – 5
7 Luke Gale – 5
16 Kane Evans – 6
9 Danny Houghton – 6
8 Ligi Sao – 6
4 Josh Griffin – 7
12 Manu Ma’u – 6
17 Brad Fash – 6
Substitutes
10 Chris Satae – 6
14 Joe Lovodua – 6
20 Jack Brown – 6
21 Jordan Johnstone – 6

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