There were mixed feelings for Catalans Dragons coach Steve McNamara as his side strengthened their grip on top spot in the Betfred Super League with a 31-16 win over Hull FC in Perpignan.
McNamara’s son Ben played a starring role in Hull’s stern resistance to the league leaders before the Dragons pulled ahead late on to emerge as clear victors.
The older McNamara admitted facing his son for the first time had put him in a “strange situation.”
“I thought Ben was great tonight,” said the Dragons coach.
“I didn’t watch him as much as my own players – it’s such a strange situation for me to be in.
“I’m really proud of him, I can say it now after the game, but I wanted him to do well and kick every goal and we are extremely proud of him as a family.
“He had to play it tough, we are a big physical team and we made it hard for him.”
Tom Davies was first to score for Catalans in the sixth minute as James Maloney and Dean Whare combined to put their winger over in the right corner, but Maloney hit the post with the conversion.
Hull hit back when Sam Tomkins’ pass was intercepted by centre Carlos Tuimavave, who raced 90 metres to score, leaving McNamara to add the conversion and put Hull 6-4 in front.
Davies scored his second following good work from Tomkins and Whare, and this time Maloney was on target from the touchline.
Hull second row Jordan Lane then burst through the Catalans defence to put winger Bureta Faraimo in on the right, McNamara adding a touchline conversion to give the visitors a 14-10 lead at the interval.
Winger Fouad Yaha levelled the scores four minutes after the break with a try in the left corner, but McNamara responded with a 58th-minute penalty before Tomkins put daylight between the teams a minute later and Maloney’s conversion made it 23-16.
French prop Julian Bousquet wrapped things up with a short burst between the posts, Maloney adding the two points and a further penalty goal for a final scoreline of 31-16.
Hull coach Brett Hodgson said, “We’ve got to be a bit more resilient in that last 10 minutes, but Catalans are obviously at the top of the league for a reason.
“We were shown how to do it better.
“We got taught some valuable lessons in the first half but we couldn’t take that with us through the second half.
“I’m really proud of the effort we showed. We are a weakened team at the moment but, to push Catalans as far as we did, I can only be happy with their effort.
“We’ll get some players back next week and try to gain some momentum for the rest of the season.
“The derby with Hull KR is next up and it is always a must-win game and we will prepare well during the week.”