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Swinton Lions v Bradford Bulls Preview

Swinton Lions will be hoping to bounce back after a big loss to Featherstone Rovers last weekend. The Lions are still  London Broncos are having the time of their lives in this year’s Championship and they will be wanting to tick another week off the calendar with their 14th win. 

Last Time Out

Things got ugly for Swinton when they travelled to the Big Fellas Stadium to face Featherstone. The Lions were defeated 58-12 in West Yorkshire but, at the halfway stage of the tie, a scoreline of that magnitude wasn’t in the pipeline. John Duffy’s side entered half-time 16-12 down after tries from Nick Gregson and Liam Marshall were outdone by a Jordan Baldwinson brace as well as a Danny Craven score in the latter stages. To add to the action Bradley Tagg and Shaun Robinson, of the hosts and visitors respectively, were sin-binned during the first period for fighting. Featherstone stormed to victory in the second half after scoring seven tries without reply. John Davies, Jamie Cording, Kyle Briggs, Craven, Kyran Johnson, Tagg and Ian Hardman were the try-scorers for Rovers during the final 40 minutes. The final three tries were scored while Featherstone had a man advantage due to Matty Beharrell sin-binning for interference.

London Broncos played their part in a high-scoring contest at Trailfinders Sports Ground. Andrew Henderson’s men beat Workington Town 50-28 to edge ever closer to a Qualifiers appearance. The Broncos were 34-12 up at the break following four pointers from Scott Leatherbarrow, Api Pewhairangi, Alex Foster, Andy Ackers, Elliot Kear and Mark Ioane. Town’s two tries in the first half came courtesy of Brett Carter and Jack Murphy. Matthew Gee cut the deficit further with the first score of the second peril but London soon struck two tries of their own in reply. Kear doubled his tally for the afternoon before James Cunningham found his way over the chalk. Rhys Williams marked his 50th appearance for the Broncos with his 17th try of the season, which got his side to the 50 point mark in the match. Workington finished the contest in good fashion as Jarrod Sammut and Oliver Gordon touched down for the Cumbrians, on what turned out to be another disappointing afternoon for Phil Veivers’ men.

Key Battle

Swinton’s half-back partnership against Featherstone were rather young and the experience they’ll gain from such defeats will only make them stronger in the long-run. Chris Atkin was the hero for Swinton last season when he kicked drop-goals against both York City Knights and Keighley Cougars in the League 1 playoffs. This season the full-back, who plays in the halves on occasions, has been a big part of Swinton’s side and he’s hardly missed a game. Atkin was paired with Jake Shorrocks in the halves, the latter being rated as a future star having come through the Wigan Warriors academy setup. Atkin and Shorrocks, should they play in the halves together this week, have a tricky job on their hands as they try to outplay Api Pewhairangi and Scott Leatherbarrow. Pewhairangi has only recently become a London player. The Ireland international signed from New Zealand Warriors while Leatherbarrow has been at the Broncos since the start of this season. The duo have linked up for the past three matches after William Barthau suffered an ankle injury in training.

Prediction

London had big trouble on their travels last season but that is a distant thought now. They’ve been top class throughout 2016 and it’s expected that they will carry on their form right up until the end of the regular season. Swinton’s first season back in the Championship has had its highs and lows, but mainly more of the former especially during their five game winning streak over the months of March and April. The Lions sit eighth in the table and they will be striving for a priceless win this weekend – London by 12

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