Super League play-offs preview: Hull FC v Catalan Dragons
Last Updated: 13/09/13 7:57pm
As the Super League season enters the knockout stages, Catalan Dragons travel to the KC Stadium to face Hull FC in a play-off broadcast live on Sky Sports 1 on Friday evening.
Prior to their defeat to Saints last time out the Black and Whites amassed five successive victories, giving the hosts momentum going into the first round of play-offs; while the Dragons' recent form has seen them register just two wins in their last five outings.
The hosts enter the crunch encounter boosted by the timely return of captain Gareth Ellis, who has missed the club's last two outings after sustaining a rib injury in the Tetley's Challenge Cup final.
You can see all the action from the KC Stadium on Friday as Hull FC take on Catalan Dragons live from 7:30pm on Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 1 HD.
Ellis returns to the 19-man squad in place of Dean Hadley as Hull coach Peter Gentle makes just one change to the side which lost 38-12 to St Helens on the final day of the regular season.
Prop Andy Lynch and centre Ben Crooks will both miss out on the elimination clash through injury, meaning Joe Westerman looks set to occupy the loose forward role while Richard Horne is expected to continue at centre.
"We know we can be better than what we have been and we need to be, but it's good to have Gareth [Ellis] back this week," Gentle told the club's official site.
"Gareth has been terrific for us at training this week, he's been very vocal and he's used to playing in semi-finals, so that's a boost.
Meanwhile, Catalan Dragons coach Laurent Frayssinous makes two changes to the side narrowly defeated by Warrington Wolves last weekend.
Outside back Damien Blanch and prop Olivier Elima both join the travelling party in place of back row Kevin Larroyer and hooker Benjamin Garcia.
The Dragons had been vying for fifth sport in Super League, but consecutive losses to end the regular season meant the French club dropped down to seventh in the table.
Frayssinous' men had the better of the Black and Whites when the sides met in Perpignan but Gentle's troops levelled the score in July with 24-13 Challenge Cup quarter-final victory.
There is little to separate the teams' records this season with the pair both entering the knockout stages with 13 wins, 12 losses and two draws throughout the season to end even on 28 points.
Hull FC: Bowden, T. Briscoe, Crookes, Ellis, Green, Heremaia, Holdsworth, Horne, Houghton, Johnson, Kent, Miller, Pitts, Shaul, Tickle, Watts, Westerman, Whiting, Yeaman.
Catalan Dragons: Webb, Blanch, Pryce, Taia, Bosc, Dureau, Elima, Henderson, Casty, Menzies, Mounis, Pelissier, Bousquet, Fakir, Paea, Duport, Vaccari, Escare, Whitehead.
First Utility Super League
Wed 1st Jul
Wakefield Wildcats26 - 16Hull FC
Thu 2nd Jul
Warrington Wolves17 - 6Wigan Warriors
Fri 3rd Jul
Leeds Rhinos46 - 18St Helens
Sun 5th Jul
Huddersfield Giants32 - 14Hull K R
Hull FC31 - 24Wakefield Wildcats
Salford Red Devils18 - 14Catalans Dragons
Castleford Tigers34 - 20Widnes Vikings
Thu 9th Jul
Wigan WarriorsvsLeeds Rhinos
Fri 10th Jul
St HelensvsHuddersfield Giants
Sun 12th Jul
Hull FC0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Hull K R
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 16th Jul
Warrington WolvesvsSt Helens
Fri 17th Jul
Hull K RvsHull FC
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 18th Jul
Catalans DragonsvsHuddersfield Giants
Sun 19th Jul
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 23rd Jul
Hull FCvsWigan Warriors
Fri 24th Jul
St Helens0 - 0Hull K R
Sun 26th Jul
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Super League 2013, play-offs week 1
Jon Wells praised St Helens' power and Wolves' defence as they progressed in the play-offs.
Tony Smith was delighted to see Ben Westwood grab some of the limelight after the Warrington's big win over Leeds.
Adam Swift ran in a hat-trick as St Helens eliminated Hull KR from the Super League play-offs with a 46-10 victory.
- Westwood inspires Wolves win
- Emotional loss for Dragons
- Hull FC slay blunted Dragons
- Jones-Buchanan eyes hat trick
- Blake lively
- Wane: It was a great display
- Wigan rally to stun Giants
- Saints v Hull KR: Teams
- Wolves v Rhinos: Teams
- Morley expects exciting clash
- Giants v Warriors: Teams
- Play-off form guide
- Crabtree: A Giant opening