Match Report: Catalans Dragons 30-31 Hull FC
Hull claimed arguably one of their most dramatic victories of the Super League era in the South of France with a sensational Golden Point drop-goal from Marc Sneyd earning another late win for the Black & Whites.
Despite leading for most of the game, FC looked to have lost the match at the Stade Gilbert Brutus at the death when Sam Kasiano touched down with less than a minute remaining. But in hugely dramatic circumstances, Hull earned a penalty on the final hooter - Sneyd was on hand to convert from the half-way line and send the game to Golden Point.
In yet more drama, Lee Radford’s side retrieved the ball from the kick-off, allowing Sneyd space in the opening set to slot over the drop-goal and send the travelling fans into ecstasy - Hull’s fifth consecutive win on the road.
A special mention also goes to young prop Jack Brown, who touched down to score on his debut with his very first carry of the ball, and fellow youngster Connor Wynne who grabbed his first professional try for the club in his second appearance!
Young props Jack Brown and Levy Nzoungou were both named on the bench for the Black & Whites making their Super League debuts for the club. Fellow forwards Scott Taylor and Masi Matongo missed out through injury, while Mickey Paea and Andre Savelio serve their one match suspension.
Connor Wynne retained his spot at full-back after making his debut last week, while Jack Logan also made his second start of the season on the wing.
Jake Connor returned from injury to start in the halves, while Albert Kelly dropped to the bench.
Joe Westerman dropped out of the squad after picking up injury in the warm-up - he was replaced by Dean Hadley.
Usual back-rowers Gareth Ellis and Jordan Thompson lined up as Hull’s starting props.
It was the Dragons who drew first blood in the match after six minutes - Sam Tomkins found a gap in the Hull defensive line and managed to break away downfield. He fed the ball to full-back Tony Gigot who raced over under the posts. Tomkins added the extras.
Hull’s first chance of the game came courtesy of young full-back Connor Wynne. Taking a smart offload from Sika Manu close to the line, the ball was spilled in a collision between the 18 year old and Brayden Wiliame. Wynne was deemed to have knocked on before grounding the ball by the video referee.
The Black & Whites were given a boost when Brayden Wiliame was sent to the sin-bin for a shoulder charge on Jake Connor after 15 minutes, but the Dragons survived the immediate pressure on their try-line.
Instead the hosts almost took the lead at the other end of the field, with Alrix Da Costa diving for the line. However, the try was ruled out for a knock-on, with Thompson and Wynne proving strong in defence.
Tomkins made it an eight point lead adding a penalty goal on the 20 minute mark.
Hull had their first score of the game, and it came as one of the most memorable moments of the season so far with Jack Brown scoring with his very first touch of the ball in his professional Rugby League career. Taking a smart short pass from Jake Connor, Brown hit a brilliant line to smash through the Dragons defence and score under the posts. Sneyd converted.
And it was double delight for the youngsters with Connor Wynne touching down for his first ever Hull FC try less than five minutes later. As Hull increased the pressure on the Dragons line, Albert Kelly’s offload was knocked-on by the Catalans man, and young full-back Wynne pounced to score. Sneyd added the extras again.
The Airlie Birds continued their dominance in the contest as Josh Griffin powered over for Hull’s third try just before the break. The centre took the ball to the line immediately from a Danny Houghton tap and crashed over for his 8th try of the season. Sneyd kicked the goal.
HALF-TIME: Catalans Dragons 8-18 Hull FC
The first points of the second-half wen the way of the hosts as Jason Baitieri collected a flat ball from Sam Kasiano to touch down under the sticks. Tomkins converted to reduce the gap to four points.
But Hull regained a comfortable lead, again courtesy of Josh Griffin who went over for try number nine in 2019, beating Lewis Tierney to a Marc Sneyd grubber to score. Sneyd kept his 100% record with the boot.
An end-to-end game once again swung in the favour of the Dragons just before the hour mark, and Benjamin Garcia scurried over from dummy-half, getting past Houghton and Ellis on the goal-line.
Lee Radford’s men were back ahead soon after though, this time courtesy of Bureta Faraimo with a charging run down the left edge after collecting an impressive pass from Jake Connor. The winger had to power to beat the Dragons men down the flank.
Catalans though his back again - a ball out wide from Gigot found Fouad Yaha who touched down in the corner despite Kelly’s challenging tackle. Tomkins missed the goal and the gap remained at four points.
The Dragons thought they had claimed a dramatic try to level the game just four minutes from time when Matt Whitley went over for the hosts. However, the French side were denied by the video referee after deeming Carlos Tuimavave had been obstructed.
But there was incredible drama still to come in the game. Sam Kasiano touched down in the final minute to break Hull hearts - Tomkins kicked the goal to take the Dragons two points ahead with 15 seconds remaining on the clock.
But, with the Dragons player collecting the kick-off despite the ball not reaching the ten metre line, Hull earned a dramatic penalty on the half-way line as the full-time hooter sounded. Marc Sneyd held his nerve, and slotted the ball over from 50 metres out to take the game to Golden Point.
In an ending close to that of a sporting movie script, Matt Whitley allowed Hull’s kick-off to bounce into touch, and the Black & Whites earned possession just 30 metres out from the Catalans line. Three plays in and Sneyd was on hand once more to slot over the drop-goal to claim the most sensational of dramatic victories!
FULL-TIME: Catalans Dragons - Hull FC
Catalans Dragons: Tony Gigot, Lewis Tierney, Samisoni Langi, Brayden Wiliame, Fouad Yaha, Sam Tomkins, Lucas Albert, Julian Bousquet, Alrix Da Costa, Sam Moa, Benjamin Jullien, Matt Whitley, Remi Casty.
Interchange: Benjamin Garcia, Greg Bird, Jason Baitieri, Sam Kasiano.
Hull FC: Connor Wynne, Jack Logan, Carlos Tuimavave, Josh Griffin, Bureta Faraimo, Jake Connor, Marc Sneyd, Jordan Thompson, Danny Houghton, Gareth Ellis, Sika Manu, Mark Minichiello, Dean Hadley.
Interchange: Albert Kelly, Jordan Lane, Levy Nzoungou, Jack Brown.
Catalans Dragons Tries: Tomkins (6), Baitieri (42), Garcia (57), Yaha (67), Kasiano (79)
Catalans Dragons Goals: Tomkins (5/6)
Hull FC Tries: Brown (25), Wynne (30), Griffin (37, 52), Faraimo (63)
Hull FC Goals: Sneyd (6/7)
Hull FC Drop Goals: Sneyd (81)