The sides placed third and fourth in Super League had a massive play-off four pointer in a sunny Perpignan. A win for the Dragons would lift them above the Airlie Birds and into third spot, while a victory for the visitors would enable them to open up a four point gap over fourth and a six point margin over fifth spot, making them the clear favourites to secure a top five finish.
Steve McNamara’s side had Sam Moa and Michael McIlorum back in their side, but were without talisman Tony Gigot and the suspended Jason Baitieri. Sika Manu and Josh Griffin returned for FC, as did Josh Bowden who was rested last time out, but Mark Minichiello was absent with a groin strain.
There was little to choose between the sides on paper, it just depended on which side would blow the hottest in the French sunshine.
Sam Tomkins was the early Catalans hero as he picked up a Michael McIlorum kick which had rebounded off Jake Connor. It was a simple pick up and score in the seventh minute for the Dragons full back. Tomkins added the conversion himself for a 6-0 lead.
Determination led to the Hull FC equaliser after Connor broke down the wing, Ratu Naulago carried and bounced off two tackles before Albert Kelly span out of a tackle to reverse over the line and drop over the line for the try. Marc Sneyd added the extras for 6-6 after sixteen minutes.
FC edged into the lead with a seventeenth minute penalty from ten metres out.
An awful mistake from Kelly in fumbling the kick off gave the Dragons possession on the FC line and at the end of the set of six they forced a goal line drop-out but when David Mead looked certain to score he juggled the ball on the line and failed to regain the ball to score.
After twenty-six minutes Joe Westerman took an Albert Kelly offload just two metres from the line for a walk in try. Sneyd added the extra two to give Hull an eight point lead.
On an end to end game it was the Dragons who were over the line next when Louis Tierney stepped past the defenders to dive over the line by the right corner flag. Tomkins pushed his conversion attempt across the uprights, the home side railing by 10-14.
A stretched arm from Andre Savelio on thirty-five registered the third Hull FC try as the substitute scooted from acting half back and grabbed a four pointer with his first touch of the ball. Sneyd added the extras for 20-10.
Within a minute of the restart, the Airlie Birds scored a terrific try as they rolled downfield, Bureta Faraimo finding the supporting Josh Griffin to go over for a hammer blow against the Dragons. Sneyd added the conversion for 26-10, the visitors disappearing over the horizon as the half time hooter sounded.
Danny Houghton was the provider of the second halves first try after a run down the left wing and a pass inside to Kieran Buchanan to go over under the uprights. Sneyd slotted his kick between the uprights for 32-10, an massive struggle for the home side to retain their third spot.
On fifty-two the game was won by Naulago when he picked the ball up in his own goal area, evaded the tacklers to get out of trouble, and then straightened up and went the length of the field to score a try after outpacing the chasing tacklers. Sneyd kicked the conversion between the uprights for a 38-10 lead.
On the hour Hull went in again through awful Catalans defence as Griffin pushed off two attempted tackles to go over the line. Sneyd added his eighth goal of the afternoon with his side now cruising to victory.
Shaul broke the Catalans defence on the half way line and cantered to the line to score the eighth FC try with the Dragons already looking as though they had thrown in the towel. Sneyd was once again accurate with the boot to bring up the half century.
Yaha had two spectacular attempts at tries ruled out by the referees but it would have made no difference to the final outcome, had they been given.
It was a fourth consecutive loss for the Catalans Dragons who quickly need to turn around their season to avoid falling irrevocably out of the top five. Three sides are now snapping at their heels, just two points behind them. Hull FC are making their charge at just the right time of the season and stringing together some decent winning performances which should pay dividends in the crucial end of season games.
Once again we saw the red hot Hull, and on this occasion, a less than luke warm Catalans.
Dragons: Tomkins (T, G), Tierney (T), Mead, Wiliame, Yaha, Langi, Smith, Bousquet, McIlorum, Moa, Jullien, Garcia, Casty. Subs: Goudemand, Maria, Simon, Kasiano.
FC: Shaul (T), Naulago (T), Connor, Buchanan (T), Faraimo, Kelly (T), Sneyd (9G), Green, Houghton, Paea, Manu, Griffin (2T), Westerman (T). Subs: Bowden, Fash, Savelio (T), Taylor.
Referee: Rob Hicks.