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Controversial call proves key as Hull FC unlucky against imperious Catalans Dragons

After their stunning win over Super League and World Champions St Helens last week, Hull FC hosted League Leaders’ Catalans Dragons who arrived on the back of a win over Leigh Leopards.

Hull FC looked to have a strong start as they were awarded early field position with the kick off out on the full however they would squander it which would be the story of the opening 15 minutes.

Catalans would go up the other end of the field and cross themselves with Tom Johnstone touching down a kick to give Catalans the 6-0 lead.

That would be doubled when a Joe Lovodua error was scooped up by Tom Davies who scampered in for the try.

Hull were up against it until a rampant run by Chris Satae got Hull FC a try and gave them hope.

Then a controversial moment as Danny Houghton was penalised for pushing Ben Garcia but Garcia was spotted holding onto a Hull FC player’s boot so the Black and Whites could have a penalty themselves.

That made it 16-6 and after a short kick off went wrong Catalans scored again as Julian Bousquet powered his way over rattling the posts and showing great awareness to keep his arm up to ground the ball.

Catalans looked in control until a superb Darnell McIntosh finish in the corner gave the Black and Whites hope and it looked set to end the half at 22-12 but with seconds left Catalans attacked from the scrum but a Sam Tomkins ball was taken by Adam Swift who scored under the sticks to make it 22-18.

At the start of the second half, Catalans looked to add to their lead with some great attacking pressure but Hull FC defended heroically.

On the hour mark we saw Manu Ma’u disallowed a try against his former club as he was held up after a Sam Tomkins kick.

But eventually another kick gave Catalans’ their fifth try as a brilliantly weighted kick from Tyrone May behind the Hull FC line was taken by Tom Davies to score to wrap up a 28-18 win.

In the end there can be no disputing that Catalans were the better side especially as they applied a strangle hold on Hull in the second 40.

But the two tries that stemmed from the Danny Houghton penalty proved key. However, it was one of those decisions where the referee simply cannot see and perhaps Houghton shouldn’t have pushed Garcia.

Another learning experience then for Tony Smith’s always improving Hull FC but Catalans look like the team to beat in 2023.

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