Shellshocked Hull KR Burned by Rampant Catalan Dragons
Does Hull Kingston Rovers have a policy of giving its supporters their money back every time the team suffers a drubbing?
If not, then they should seriously think about starting such a policy, for it was a wonder they were any Hull KR supporters left watching the end of the team’s pathetic shambles of a performance in last night’s game against Catalan Dragons.
The French side haven’t always had a great time in South Yorkshire, with Hull KR coming into this game having beaten them twice last season, once in the Superleague where they came back from a 16 point deficit, and then 32-26 in a cup tie.
Last night then was revenge, but more than that, it was humiliation, for Hull KR’s players, for their supporters, and for their coach, James Webster, whose tight faced grimace surely concealed the fact that he’d been looking for another job given his team’s pointless presence on the pitch.
Indeed, the only real question that needs asking after last night, is not why have Catalan suddenly become such a great team; that can be attributed to the likes of Pat Richards, Richard Myler and Jodie Broughton, all of whom stood out last night as reasons for this new French renaissance in Superleague.
Vincent Duport too was on good form as was Willie Mason, who simply drove his way through several Hull KR players to place the ball on the line in the final act of what was great sporting drama if you were French; and hapless farce if you lived anywhere near Hull.
So no, the question to be asked isn’t about Catalans, but why Hull KR didn’t just bother going home at half time?
To which the only answer could be that they were already home, the KC Lightstream stadium being their turf. Yet this failed to spur any notions of home pride, and their performance in the second half was only slightly better in that they conceded slightly fewer points.
To be fair to Hull KR, they did actually play well… for less than five minutes around the midpoint of the first half, before sinking back into the torpor that had come over them before the game even kicked off.
Right from the start of this match, Catalan were in control, determined to prove that, after years as a kind of token French side in Superleague (Rugby League having the same parochial appeal in the Southwest of France that it does in the North of England), the only thing that stands any chance of beating them easily this year is the kind of English downpour they had to endure at Wigan.
Richard Myler opened the French side’s case with a 40:20 kick that set up a fantastic passing game that saw Hull KR almost watching the ball as it made its way down the line of Catalan players to find Jodie Broughton, who was waiting on the right wing.
Broughton took it over the line for Catalan’s opening try, and although Pat Richards failed to convert, his kicking was on form for the rest of the night, though all future conversions seemed a formality, such was the French side’s utter dominance of this game.
Not long afterwards a well timed kick was caught by Richards who passed it to Vincent Duport, allowing the Frenchman to claim his side’s second try. This time Richards converted with ease despite the difficult angle of the kick.
Hull KR compounded matters when a knock-on from Kieran Dixon handed a scrum to Catalan, and only Dixon was able to avoid Hull KR giving away another try, instead securing a goal line dropout.
This was just after the ten minute mark and saw Hull KR enjoy their first actual moments of possession in the game. Only now did the Hull KR players seem to wake up and understand they were playing a game of Rugby.
The Yorkshire side started to put a bit of pressure on their guests, and for a few tantalising minutes it looked as if they might actually score, and give those watching a game of rugby to enjoy instead of a whitewash.
Catalan however were as dogged in defence as they were merciless in attack, and Hull KR made no dent in the French side’s lead, by this point extended to 16-0, with Jodie Broughton ending a great run up the pitch for try number three by Catalan, which Richards duly converted.
After which whatever malaise it was that had taken Hull KR in those opening ten minutes, returned, all the stronger for its all too brief absence.
By the time Krishnan Inu got try number four, Hull KR looked shellshocked and stayed that way the rest of the night, with Gregory Morris, Richard Myler and Willie Mason going on to add their names to the Catalan scoresheet.
That Hull KR managed to beat Leeds last week, and comprehensively too at 30 points to 10, must surely have their fans wondering just what had happened to that side last night, yet that says more about how distant Leeds’s ideas of retaining their status as champions must now be to those at Headingley, than it does about Hull KR. Catalan meanwhile now have an ironclad case as to why they will be in the playoffs come the end of this season.