We’re now 20 rounds in and it is official that the London Broncos will be playing in the Championship next year, with Bradford almost certain to follow. The Broncos have prepared though, and it’s good to see. Round 20 includes a few big score-lines, and a few shock ones, too.
Wakefield Wildcats vs Widnes Vikings
The Thursday night televised game was held at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium, where Webster’s undefeated men faced a slow-dropping performing Widnes, who are now close to being dropped out of the top 8. Not the most thrilling game, but it was end-to-end stuff. Widnes lacked in quality of finishing in the first half, and the missed opportunities lost them the game. A missed conversion from Danny Tickle was all that separated the sides, with the fulltime score 12-10 to the Wildcats. A low crowd here of 3,932, which raises the question, ‘Are Thursday night games really working?’
Castleford Tigers vs Huddersfield Giants
Castleford were looking to improve on their 40-20 win over Widnes the previous week, but Huddersfield were looking to over-come their shock defeat against the Salford Red Devils at the John Smith’s Stadium. Castleford started on top, and went into half time with a 16-12 lead. In the second half they were scoring for fun, until Huddersfield looked like they were about to bring it back but failed to when Broughton’s foot went out on touch when he raced 90m to go under the sticks. Tries from Holmes, Carney, Finn (2), Milner, Dixon, Mariano and Millington saw the Tigers win 44-30, with 5,310 at The Jungle for this one.
St Helens vs Bradford Bulls
There was everything to play for with the Bulls, with relegation only games away, but their first half performance was no match for the Saints, who scored 28 unanswered points. Bradford looked more determined in the second half, and scored 22 points themselves, through Gale, Arundel, Purtell and Foster, but it wasn’t enough as St Helens got the victory. 46-22 was the fulltime score, with 10,238 at Langtree Park for this one.
Leeds Rhinos vs Hull KR
A game that shocked everyone. At half-time, people were wondering if a drop-goal would be the only thing that would separate these two sides, as they went into the half 0-0. Only until the 60th was the score-line changed, with Burrow scoring on his return from a broken collarbone. Leeds didn’t stop there, and more tries from Sutcliffe, Ablett, McGuire and another from Burrow secured them the win. Josh Hodgson scored KR’s only try in this one. 30-6 the fulltime score here, with 14,192 at Headingley Carnegie Stadium.
Salford Red Devils vs Hull FC
There was a lot of excitement building up to this game, as home fans thought they would see their new signing, Kevin Locke, make his home debut, only for him to not be named in the 17-man squad. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop Chase putting on a show, and his intercept try started the scoring in this match. Hull FC’s race for the top 8 is slowly drifting away from them, as they are now 4 points away from the 8th spot. Tries from brothers, Josh and Darrell Griffin, a try from Johnson and two from Caton-Brown, plus a drop kick from Chase made the fulltime score 35-22 to the Devils. 3,421 at the AJ Bell Stadium for this one, not as high as Koukash would have hoped, I bet.
Catalan Dragons vs Wigan Warriors
The Dragons needed to know the difference between fierce and illegal, as the start of the second half was ruined by many penalties against the Dragons for really awful play, including a choke hold on Joshua Charnley. A good competition in the first half though, but 2-yellow cards for the Dragons in the second half saw Wigan run riot and score many tries in as much time. Wigan Warriors become the first team to beat the Dragons at their place since Leeds did in February. The fulltime score here was 37-16 to the Warriors, with 7,489 at this one.
Warrington Wolves vs London Broncos
London’s survival in the Super League all depended on this game, as a loss would see them be relegated to the Championship. Things didn’t go their way, however, and Warrington didn’t hold back, and they put a pretty embarrassing score-line up against the Broncos. Tries from Monaghan (4), Hill (3), Currie (3), Wood, Ormsby and Harrison saw the Wolves relegate the Broncos with a score of 72 points to 12. London are already preparing for next season, however, with 23 of this season’s players out of the 31 contracted being confirmed that they will leave the club at the end of the season. Many positives, too, with many signings coming their way. Things are looking up for the Broncos, even with the relegation. Finally, they will have a full pre-season.
It won’t be long until Bradford follows the Broncos into Championship, but at least I’ll get to see them at the Championship Magic Weekend, held in the town I live!
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