Last Time Out
Dennis Betts’ Widnes side well and truly put London Broncos to the sword in what was a make-or-break clash for the southern side. It was London, however, who took the lead with a muscular effort from Mark Ioane and a conversion for Jarrod Sammut to go six points up. Their lead didn’t last long though and Widnes scored four unanswered tries from the 22nd minute onwards to go into the half time break 22-6 up.
It looked all too easy for the home side when they came out after the break and added another two their tally just two minutes later. Despite being all but out of contention for the Million Pound Game, the Broncos managed to muster a comeback and scored a brace of second half tries that were punctuated by a double from Joe Mellor. Despite the marked improvement from London in the second half, it was most literally too little too late in the game as well as the competition and the Londoners were left travelling home to yet another season in the Championship with a 38-16 loss in the bank.
Leigh, on the other hand, sealed their must win clash with Halifax, who’s recent valiant performances have seemingly caught up with them. James Clare got on the board just four minutes and was backed up ten minutes later by a Ben Reynolds try and conversion. Mitch Brown got a try of his own before his namesake Mitch Cahalane got one back for Halifax. Brown would have the last word though, and scored his second of three for the afternoon on the stroke of half time to put Leigh 20-6 up going into the sheds.
Halifax couldn’t better their first half performance in the second and Leigh capitalised with tries for James Clare, Harrison Hansen, Mitch Brown, and Greg McNally to run away 40-6 winners and secure a spot in the Million Pound Game.
For London, the battle in this one is significantly less positional, but more holistically as a squad. The Broncos, without doubt, have a defensive issue seeing just over 29 points on average through their defence a game, and will need to sort it out to have any chance in this one. Leigh are a solid side and have the second best defence in the qualifiers campaign conceding just under 17 points per game which, granted, is far from a good defence – but it’s better than London’s by a mile. Coming down to the fast track at Trailfinders, Leigh will need to bring a bit more in order to contend with London’s outrageous attack at home and, if they do, they’ll win this one comfortably.
This is by no means a dead rubber; Leigh need a win here to have any chance of getting into the home slot for the Million Pound Game and London will play yet more champagne rugby to cap off the season for the home fans. If this becomes a scoring contest then anything is possible, but Leigh have had the metal over the Broncos in recent history and should come away with a win once more. The boys from London have shown they are no mugs, however, so expect a fair few points in the process. Leigh by 14.
London Broncos: KEAR, WILLIAMS, HELLEWELL, DIXON, SAMMUT, BARTHAU, SPENCER, CUNNINGHAM, IOANE, GARSIDE, PITTS, BATTYE, EVANS, CHANGING, DAVIS, GEE, WALKER, BIENEK, BOUDEBZA.
Leigh Centurions: CROOKS, DAWSON, DRINKWATER, STEWART, HANSEN, PELISSIER, TICKLE, MARIA, VEA, MCNALLY, HAMPSHIRE, REYNOLDS, HOOD, GREEN, HOPKINS, CLARE, BURR, FLEMING, RICHARDS.