Hull FC v Catalans Dragons - Can the real Hull FC please stand up?

SCOTT TAYLOR fully understands why even the most ardent Hull FC fan might not fancy their chances of progressing into the Challenge Cup semi-finals tonight.

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It is not that the England prop feels the Black and Whites have met their match in the shape of Catalans Dragons who arrive at the KCOM Stadium for the last-eight meeting.

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Granted, the French club are holders and in fine form having lost just one of their last seven matches, but they do not fill the Black and Whites with dread.

Scott Taylor pushes forward with Grant Millington and Nathan Massey hanging on. as Hull FC defeated Castleford Tigers. ( Picture: Bruce Rollinson)

Far from it; Hull won in Perpignan earlier this season following Marc Sneyd’s dramatic drop goal in a memorable Golden Point win.

Yet, since then, they were also humiliated 37-6 at home to Steve McNamara’s side at the start of this month.

The question, then, on all fans’ lips is ‘which Hull will turn up next?’

The East Yorkshire club remain the most bafflingly and irritatingly inconsistent side around.

Hull FC players look dejected during the Dacia Magic Weekend match of the Betfred Super League at Anfield, Liverpool. (Picture: Richard Sellers/PA Wire)

Let us not forget that Hull – who hold such hopes of finally lifting the Super League trophy – lost 55-2 against ninth-placed Huddersfield Giants at Magic Weekend last Saturday, their most embarrassing no-show yet.

That came just a week after a remarkable win at second-placed Warrington Wolves, yet was a fourth annihilation this term having previously also conceded 62 points at St Helens and 63 at home to Warrington.

One minute they look title challengers, the next, totally abject.

Head coach Lee Radford was as bemused as anyone in the bowels of Anfield after that inexplicable Magic loss, saying the only consistency about his faltering squad was their inconsistency.

Hull FC's Scott Taylor. (Picture: SWPix.com)

Yet, in the same breath, he fully expects them to be great again versus Catalans this evening.

Taylor, 28, could shed no further light on it either.

“I think we will bounce back; it’s been the story of our season,” he said.

“We can’t do anything. We think we’re going to get a bit of consistency back...I sat and spoke to you all (media) after that beating against Catalans when we took a flogging.

“I said we needed to bounce back and get some consistency and we did.

“We got a good win against Castleford in the Cup and I think we’d have beaten anyone who had come to our place the way we played that night.

“We go to Warrington with more or less the same team that played against Huddersfield and beat them on their own soil with a really good performance.

“We have a real good week’s training and then we got to Anfield and chuck up that (performance). It’s just madness.”

It is particularly galling for Taylor, a lifelong Hull fan who knows just how much the club’s fortunes mean to its supporters.

He was there driving them to Wembley wins in 2016 and 2017 and would love nothing better than to go do all that again.

But the experienced front-row admitted: “It’s hard to put a finger on it at the minute apart from things aren’t falling right for us and we get in a bit of a rut.

“We’re either red-hot or we’re nowhere near. It’s frustrating.

“Maybe sometimes you have to accept that’s what you are this year.

“But we don’t want to be known as that; we don’t want to be known as the ‘Which Hull FC side will turn up?’ team.

“The Hull FC that was good enough to win Super League or the Hull FC that’s struggling to stay in Super League.

“It’s frustrating as a senior player and out there as captain against Huddersfield I tried to rally the boys and get everyone firing.

“But even I made some bad mistakes out there. We have to put it to bed now.”

Hull should tonight see regular captain Danny Houghton return from a calf strain that saw the hooker miss the last two games.

He will certainly stiffen them up and bring greater direction from the ruck.

“There’s a lot up for grabs and we really need to turn up and fire,” said the former Hull KR and Wigan Warriors forward.

“We probably will! I’m telling you now, if we don’t turn up in that game and have a dig I’ll be shocked. That’s us all over.

“Hopefully we can do that and then bounce into Salford at home the Thursday after.

“Catalans will come and try and bully us, slow the game down, get in a bit of a scrap and do what they did last time at home. We just have to react to that.”

“But, at the minute, the way we are, if you’re a betting man, you aren’t coming anyway near us as you don’t know which Hull FC is turning up.”