The Betfred Championship season is entering its final four weeks. Toronto Wolfpack currently sit proudly at the top of the table with 35 points from 19 games, with a spot in the Qualifiers now secured.
Below them, the battle for the final three places could not be tighter. Over the next week, we will be looking at the teams eager to secure one of the final three spots, including their form, star men and remaining fixtures- today’s look is at the London Broncos.
London Broncos History
The Broncos, who currently sit in fifth in the Championship table, started life as Fulham RLFC before rebranding various times, including becoming the London Crusaders, London Broncos, Harlequins and finally coming full circle and back to the London Broncos.
Rugby League in the Capital has been with us since 1981. The club made its only Rugby League Challenge Cup Final appearance in 1999 but lost to Leeds Rhinos 52-16.
As you can see, the club has been known in many ways over the years, but it is the Broncos name that could well be associated with them as they try and embark on another stint in the top flight.
Stand out player past or present
For some, the name John Anthony Gallagher may not mean anything, but this trailblazing former New Zealand All Black was a household name after becoming one of the first All Blacks to switch codes to league in the early to mid 1990’s.
Following his change of code, other top names would follow suit; Frano Botica would sign for Wigan, the great John Schuster to Newcastle Knights, then two years later Vai’iga Tuigamala also joined the Warriors.
Capped 41 times as a member of the All Blacks, he never tasted defeat and was a member of the side that lifted the very first Rugby Union World Cup. Many sources suggest him to be one of the greatest full backs and New Zealand players of all time.
Looking at London’s final four fixtures, they have one of the toughest run ins to the season of all the teams trying to cement a spot in the top four. Their games include away trips to Toulouse, Barrow and Featherstone, as well as a home tie against similarly high-flying Halifax.
Having beaten Barrow Raiders and the Featherstone Rovers at the start of the season, London will be expecting to do much of the same as the season draws to a close. As for the teams above and around them, each of the games earlier this season have been evenly matched affairs with London beating Halifax and Featherstone Rovers losing to French club Toulouse Olympique.
They now have to go on the road with visits to The Shay and the Stade Ernest-Argeles, where visiting teams have found two ladder points at a premium.
They will have to do what only two teams have managed all season; go to France and win! This is no easy feat considering the only two teams to manage this escaped France by the slenderest of winning margins.
Attack is the best form of defence
After topping the table for the early part of the year, it was plain to see why the London Broncos are the highest scoring team in the Championship.
Not even table-topping Toronto Wolfpack have scored more points this year. With inspirational scrum half Jarrod Sammut in fine form it is very easy to see why.
What has to be asked is the Broncos defence which appears to be their achilles heel, as they have the third worst point against total of the teams challenging in the top six.
When the dust settles, and the final whistle blows in Barrow on July 29, will the London Broncos be fighting for a spot in the Shield Final or doing battle for the right to call themselves a Super League team?
One thing is for sure; if they want to keep competing with the big boys, tightening up their goal-line defence must be a priority for Danny Ward, Jamie Langley and others on the coaching team.