Hull FC stopped their bad run with a controversial win over Warrington and are still in touch with the top four as consequence.
This adds extra significance to this encounter as the Black and Whites host the third placed Dragons.
Catalans have yet to be at their absolute best in 2022, but are quietly building momentum and will want another win here.
Hull FC have lost skipper Luke Gale to a ban, Adam Swift to a foot injury and Connor Wynne due to concussion protocols. There will be a first appearance of the season for Scott Taylor after returning from an injury sustained in pre-season.
Despite signing a new deal this week, Mike McMeeken is unavailable and joins the likes of Sam Tomkins in the treatment room following a dislocated bone in his wrist. Joe Chan, who will be play for Melbourne Storm in 2023, is also unavailable following a ban picked up in the Easter fixture against Toulouse. Like Hull FC, Catalans welcome back one of their main forwards with Julian Bousquet back from injury.
Match Preview – Key Battles:
Joe Lovodua vs Arthur Mourgue: Despite playing different positions, these two will bring similar energy and explosivity to their team’s attack. So, the player who can cause more problems for their opponents here may just inspire their side to victory.
Chris Satae vs Gil Dudson: Even when Hull FC were struggling, Chris Satae was performing well and is always tough to handle. As for Dudson, he’s an underrated prop and always a strong runner and hard worker.
Scott Taylor vs Sam Kasiano: Scott Taylor’s return from injury will likely see him start this one on the bench. So, he will enter the game in time to battle Catalans’ super sub Sam Kasiano who will enter the game part way through the piece to cause problems with his explosivity and offloading capabilities. It’ll be tough for Taylor to contain him on his return from injury.
Where the game will be won and lost:
Both Hull and the Dragons are physical sides who will look to bully each other building field position before their big players take the game by the scuff of the neck. So, the absence of Luke Gale and Sam Tomkins could be crucial here. In their absence, the explosivity of Mourgue and Lovodua as well as touches of class from Jake Connor and Josh Drinkwater may decide the game.
Score Prediction: Hull FC 12-18 Catalans Dragons