MARC SNEYD’S drop of gold in Perpignan could prove to be the turning point this season for Hull FC.
Lee Radford will bounce into Friday’s derby against Hull KR following this last-gasp drama in the south of France which saw the patched-up Black and Whites pinch the points from the jaws of defeat.
Hull seemed certain to lose this game after a last minute try by giant Dragon Sam Kasiano but a bad error by his colleague Brayden Wiliame cost Catalans the match as he was penalized for collecting a short kick-off and Sneyd levelled the scores with a penalty from half-way.
The game went to Golden Point and there was only going to be one winner with Sneyd on the pitch.
“I love Golden Point,” Sneyd said after the match. “It brings excitement to the game and our fans were rewarded today for turning up and following us to France.
“This win will give us some confidence going into the big game on Friday. It’s a tough place to come to and win here. We did some dumb things in that game but we found a way to win at the end.”
Hull were full value for victory with a side containing three debutants and a retiree in Gareth Ellis who turned the clock back with a fierce performance which lifted his fellow players, some of whom weren’t born when he made his debut in the last century.
A breathless Hull coach Lee Radford admitted he feared the worst when Catalans scored at the end of normal time: “I was heading for the dressing room with a frown on my face,” Radford said.
“I thought we’d lost when Kasiano scored but then Sneydy steps up and kicks the winner, it was incredible.
“There’s not too many players who would you would like to strike that Golden Point, he really is the master at it.”
Sneyd made history by scoring Super League’s first-ever Golden Point winner against Wigan inFebruary but this clincher at Stade Gilbert Brutus had even more added drama following a game which ebbed and flowed from start to finish.
Catalans, fresh off a home win over previously undefeated St Helens, looked nailed on to beat a Hull side missing 11 senior players through injury and suspension.
Radford admitted his side were up against the odds prior to kick-off: “I said we’d have to play for 80 minutes and we did a little more than that.
“It’s always a difficult place to come here, Catalans. “We’re under-strength but it’s hard to believe when you see some of the contacts made by Gareth Ellis which were ridiculous.
“Then at the other end of the scale we’ve got Connor Wynne, Levy Nzoungou and Jack Brown all having their first touch for us in Super League and coming away with the win, it will do their confidence the world of good.”
Brown scored a crucial try in the 27th minute and Radford added: “Jack’s an 18-year-old kid who will be telling everybody he scored a 60-metre try under the posts, and both him and Connor – who are both East Hull lads – must be feeling very proud tonight.
“To have two young boys looking so comfortable at this level of the game is only going to bear us in good stead in the future.”
The immediate future is Friday’s derby with Rovers. Radford said his side is ready for the challenge. There are two ways you can go into a derby: off the back frustrated after a stinging loss or an emphatic win.
“We’ve done neither of those, we’re going in after a real slog but showing all the right ingredients of a quality side.”
Radford had no fresh injury concerns apart from a possible hamstring injury for Nzoungou and Hull will now fancy their chances on Friday after such a resilient display against a heavyweight Dragons line-up.
The visitors went behind early to a Tony Gigot try but hit back on the half-hour when Brown burst through the line to race under the posts with his first touch of the ball after making his debut from the bench.
It was another teenage dream when Wynne put Hull ahead three minutes later and Josh Griffin added a try before half-time to see Hull ahead by 18-8.
Catalans hit back early in the second half when Jason Baitieri touched down but Griffin bagged his second as Hull continued to press into the final quarter.
Ben Garcia put the Dragons back into contention in the 57 th minute but winger Bureta Fariamo soon restored the eight-point margin. Fouad Yaha gave Catalans some hope when he crossed in the left corner and when Kasiano scored in the 79 th minute all seemed lost for Hull at 30-28.
Nobody told Sneyd the game was up and his short kick-off to resume play was collected within ten metres by Wiliame giving the Hull marksman a shot at goal from half-way. It was always going to be successful but even Sneyd couldn’t see Catalans allowing his next resumption kick to bounce into touch.
Hull regained possession and the large number of travelling fans knew what was coming next.
Amid scenes of delirium in the top right corner of the Puig Aubert Stand, the ball sailed between the sticks and “Sneeeeed” echoed into the cloudless skies of the south of France.
Catalans Dragons: Gigot, Tierney, Langi, Wiliame, Yaha, Tomkins, Albert, Bousquet, Da Costa, Moa, Jullien, Whitley, Casty. Substitutes: Garcia, Bird, Baitieri, Kasiano.
Hull: Wynne, Logan, Tuimavave, Griffin, Faraimo, Connor, Sneyd, Thompson, Houghton, Ellis, S. Manu, Minichiello, Westerman. Substitutes: Kelly, Lane, Nzoungou, Brown.
Referee: Chris Kendall (RFL)