London Broncos collapsed to a disappointing 34-point loss at home to league leaders Castleford Tigers, which took the two sides to three losses and three wins in a row respectively.
London and Castleford came into this one with contrasting fortunes, having respectively lost and won two on the bounce before meeting at Trailfinders. While Broncos showed some promise in their season opener against Wakefield, they have shown little more to build on in their battle to stay in Super League.
Castleford, however, have proved to be a complete team so far this season and have seemed relatively untroubled in previous clashes against Hull FC and Catalans Dragons.
Indeed, Castleford started in the same fashion and exposed frail London defending to cross through Peter Mata’utia just six minutes in. Broncos, however, provided some resistance for the next 10-minutes and ever-present Rhys Williams took a sublime pass from Matty Fleming to score and allow Kieron Dixon to level the score. That would be the Broncos’ sole highlight in a poor showing for the newly-promoted outfit, and Castleford got on the board again soon after through Jake Trueman.
Castleford continued to dominate London in both attack and defence and capitalised with a brutish drive from Junior Moors, after which Paul McShane put Castleford 18-6 up. Jesse Sene-Lefao followed suit after a period of London resistance to put the visitors 18 points up going into the sheds at half time.
In a seemingly more impressive effort than that of the first half, Castleford shut out London and crossed for three unanswered tries off the back of McShane and Trueman dominating the play-making throughout the second half. Liam Watts, Greg Eden and Jordan Rankin all capitalised off the back of impressive attacking shapes as well as a floundering London defence to make the final score 40-6 in what was a comprehensive win for an under-strength Castleford team.
Complete performance from Castleford
Despite Castleford fielding a distinctively under-strength side with the likes of Luke Gale and Mike McMeeken missing on a long injury list, they held London to a solitary try alongside piling on the points and, most importantly, did not switch off when so far ahead. Such quality is uniquely a characteristic of champion teams and Castleford look to be heading that way should they carry on in the same vein.
London continue to flatter to deceive
London, on the other hand, have demonstrated qualities of a relegation-level side ever since their opening round win against Wakefield, with pivotal unforced errors and a lack of cutting edge in attack. In their three subsequent games, they have failed to score even half as many points as they did in their win against Wakefield. Although there’s plenty of rugby left to play, Broncos need to re-find their opening round form in both defence and attack unless they fancy standing under their own sticks for the rest of the season.
Full strength Tigers will tear up
Now sitting top of the league on points difference, Castleford have a long injury list to bring back into their match-day squad and it looks as though they can only improve from here on. A potential repeat of 2017 with a positive ending could be on the cards.
Alex Walker is essential to London’s survival
Alex Walker’s injury-provoked omission from the match day squad was distinctively detrimental to London’s performance. Matty Fleming filled in for Walker but provided an completely disparate quality of performance, most notably when suffering under the high ball and defending as last man. If Broncos are to stay up, they need to keep Walker fit and utilise his substantial try-saving and try-making abilities.
London Broncos 6
Drop Goals: n/a
Castleford Tigers 40
Tries: Mata’utia, Trueman, Moors, Sene-Lefao, Watts, Eden, Rankin
Goals: McShane (5), Rankin
Drop Goals: n/a
London: Fleming, Dixon, Morgan, Kear, Williams, Abdull, Cunningham, Adediyi, Fozard, Ioane, Pitts, Lovell, Yates.
Interchanges: Richards, Battye, Mason, Pelissier.
Castleford: Mata’utia, Clare, Minikin, Shenton, Eden, Trueman, Rankin, Watts, McShane, Millington, Sene-Lefao, Clarkson, Massey.
Interchanges: Milner, Moors, Egodo, Cook.